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--- be inspired

--- be informed

--- be entertained

IN THIS ISSUE … --- be inspired How to have Better Family Conversations.………………….……….………………..… 1

How do I know if I have hurry sickness ?……………………………….…………..……. 9 A Parable of Risk: Betting on the Here and Now ………………...………….……… 18 Four natural parenting tips to help you maintain your sanity….…….…………. 20

… be informed Communication without contrasting..……………………….…………………..………..


Learn how to control anger in a relationship………………………..……….…….….. 14 Presentations – The Single most Powerful PowerPoint slide you can use…. 25 Networking tip: the Elevator pitch…………………………………………..……..……… 27 … be entertained Books ………………………………………………………………………………………….………… 15 Videos ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 6 For Kids ……………………………………………………………………….…………..….…………. 12 Listening ……………………………………………………………………………………..……….... 22

How to have better family conversations

"The highest purpose of communication is communing, which is becoming one with each other.“ So wrote relationship experts Barry and Joyce Vissell in their book, "The Shared Heart“ Sadly, many families and groups of friends who come together during the holiday season have only superficial conversations. However, by using some simple agreements and some questions as conversationstarters, they can have a much richer and more enjoyable time of sharing their life experiences. First, what gets in the way?

Five main impediments to quality family conversations: Most families don't set aside the time required for sharing meaningful life experiences and telling stories. For example, meals are often rushed. As Sonia Cohen suggests in the title of her article, "Savor Life by Slowing Down the Table." (For a full description of this issue, see honoring "Take Back Your Time Day.“ Most families don't understand that some basic agreements are necessary to support quality conversation, and they don't get those agreements for turn-taking, listening, brief sharing. In the U.S. we are immersed in a "culture of critique" (linguist Deborah Tannen's term) in which people routinely interrupt, correct, disagree, and argue with one another. This makes conversing risky and un-safe. During dinner table conversations in the American culture, children tend to be the performers and the adults the spectators, which makes it less likely the elders will share personal experiences


(This pattern was described to me years ago by anthropologist Gregory Bateson, and I believe it largely holds true.) Too many distractions: Televisions and radios claim our attention. Phones ring, people enter and leave and over-talk one another. There is a sense of busy-ness in the home. Fortunately, those five factors can be minimized. Here are four basic methods that increase the quality and satisfaction of conversation for a group of family and friends talking together:

1. Set aside a time, even 15-20 minutes, for talking and listening . 2. Ask everyone to agree to these simple guidelines: --Take turns talking. -- Listen respectfully and seek to understand -- Share personal experience that has meaning --Speak briefly, no more than a few minutes 3. Use some "conversation-starter" questions that evoke personal stories. Creative starters can make the contributions more spontaneous, less rehearse. 4. Rotate hosts, with that one person keeping the process on track with focus and time management. A few years ago I surveyed 32 American families to learn what children and adults would most like to hear from each other. From the survey results I wrote a long list of questions and topics for memoryimages and assembled a "Better Conversation Kit" that could be used for gatherings of family and friends. I discovered that young people were interested in hearing stories of the elders' life experiences. (This kit has been revised and will be available soon at, the "conversation tools" link.)

Making Maths fun You can have all the math games that you need to make math fun, interesting and effective. These games were created by Teresa Evans, an elementary educator. Included games reinforce the following skills: comparing numbers to 100, multiplication facts, shapes, place value to 100, addition practice, subtraction practice, division practice, odd and even numbers, counting, multiples, strategic thinking, percentages, fractions, symmetry, coordinates, telling time and much more. Making Math Fun !

Two other items that are helpful: â—? a timer that keeps sharing within the time limits. (Three to six minutes has been a good range of time when I've used this method for a church picnic, group workshop, and groups of friends.) An inexpensive 3-minute sand timer or watch with a second hand work well. â—? a "talking object": Almost any object will work. A stick or a ball, or a family memento, for example. Only the person holding the object gets to talk. I can hardly think of all the benefits there are to family conversations when they're wellconducted. Kids learn a lot of new information, certainly. But they also learn how to converse with civility; they increase their speaking vocabularies and learn more accurate pronunciation; and they practice adapting their behaviour to others in order to hold their attention. Finally, let me mention this excellent program: Called "Eat, Talk, Connect," an activity now being used in some communities around the nation. I talked with the coordinator of such a program in Park Rapids, MN (Ms. Mari Jo Lohmeier) and learned that when school children had family meals at least 3 times a week, they got better grades and were less prone to start smoking or get involved with drugs. As well, because of parents' meal planning, everyone had better nutrition, which resulted in better health.

Loren Ekroth Š 2007, All rights reserved Loren Ekroth, Ph.D. is a specialist in human communication and a national expert on conversation for business and social life. His articles and programs strengthen critical communication skills for business and professional people. Contact Loren at Check out a wealth of valuable resources and articles at and subscribe to his weekly free Better Conversations ezine (which also entitles you to two very informative reports

Most people have a clutter problem.

That's right - most people have a clutter problem. That's why there are so many "Get Organized" programs out there! Some people make a living helping other people get their clutter under control. And most of them do a great job at this, and help lots of people. But that is where this is different. Author, Mimi Tanner is passionate about getting rid of clutter in her personal life. After years of seeking solutions, she made her own way through the many tips out there. She found an easy way to get order in her life, and shares it with you in the fastest read you'll ever see on this subject: Declutter Fast: How To Get Your Home In Order Almost Immediately. There is nothing in this world that feels quite the same as looking around your home and seeing it in order and glowing. And there's nothing more energy-draining than living with clutter. You need to Declutter Fast. Start now!


‌ be inspired!


‌ be entertained Skyfall (2012) Daniel Craig , Javier Bardem, Sam Mendes | Rated: PG-13 | Format: DVD "Although I remain a loyal fan to the Bond of my youth (Roger Moore), Daniel Craig is, in my opinion, one of the very best of the rest. In Skyfall he demonstrated how he has matured into the character - and the writing and execution of virtually every other aspect of this film are superior to his first two outings. Some viewers are finding this Bond outing a bit slow moving. I didn't, although it is admittedly more restrained than many other films from the series. Nevertheless, I found it engaging from beginning to end. I thought certain parts of the film packed an emotional punch seldom felt in other Bond films. It is interesting how the public's expectations for Bond have changed. When View to A Kill premiered critics blasted the level of violence and even Roger Moore said he thought at least one scene in that movie went too far. The current take on Bond is far more violent and the bad guys are often presented in a much darker light than the villains of old - even if ultimately their dastardly deeds end up having similar effects. I'm looking forward to what comes next in this long running series and highly recommend this entry." Watch the trailer Buy online from Amazon


Mrs. Brown’s Boys : Series 2 The Nation's 'Mother' of comedy is back and badder than ever in her award winning second series. - Watch the trailer - Buy online from the

The Hunger Games By Roadshow Entertainment … crazy, mixed-up combination of Survivor, Lost, and the collected works of George Orwell -Watch the trailer - Buy online from

… be informed! How to speak in public Does the thought of addressing a crowd—or even a few classmates or co-workers—keep you up at night? You can learn how to perform this feat without losing sleep—or your lunch


Communication With Contrasting Contrasting is clarifying what the communicator is not saying

When we listen, we do more than hearing words. We interpret messages using nonverbal communication, intuition, observations and context. By using this additional information, we are able to have a deeper understanding of a message, or read between the lines. Sometimes the message may be misconstrued due to other factors (insecurity, signal misunderstandings, defensiveness, etc.). In these situations, the person sending the message can contrast to prevent misinterpretations or clear them up. Contrasting is clarifying what the communicator is not saying. People can only interpret communication to an extent, and sometimes it becomes the speaker's task to let the other person know exactly what is not being implied. During a heated discussion, debate or argument, temperatures rise and emotions can easily come into play. When this happens, people have a tendency to make their own assumptions about what is being said. These assumptions can be made in other situations as well, regardless of emotion. In order to know when to contrast, you must observe the other person's behavior and how they communicate. Unprovoked defensiveness, withdrawal, disagreement or similar social cues in response to your message may be a red flag. Think about what you have said, how it may cause that particular response, then communicate that you are not suggesting that. This communication skill is one that may not seem like a necessity, therefore a hassle to put into use. However it is a skill that makes communication and social situations easier, and like any other communication skill it takes consistent application and practice. Adam is a human resources professional and communication coach. His goal is to support individuals and organizations in achieving success by improving interpersonal skills, increasing confidence, and becoming highly effective in communication. With his experience and education in training, recruiting, and consulting, he has acquired a great understanding of social interaction, and uses this knowledge to help others build their skills. Visit his website at


How do I know if I Have "Hurry Sickness"? I typically drive 10 or more miles/hour over the speed limit. I interrupt others and/or finish their sentences. I get impatient in meetings when someone goes on a tangent. I find it difficult to respect people who are chronically late. I rush to be first in line, even when it doesn't matter (for example, getting off an airplane first in order to stand at Baggage Claim longer). If I have to wait over a few minutes for service in a store or restaurant, I get impatient and leave or demand service. To me time is money! I generally view as less capable those who may be slower to speak act or decide. I admire people who move at my speedy pace! I pride myself on my speed, efficiency, and punctuality. I view "hanging out" as a waste of time. I pride myself on getting things done on time, and will sacrifice the chance to improve a product if it means being late. I often rush or hurry my children and/or spouse. *You can find more on "Hurry Sickness" in the Bantam book, Time Management For Unmanageable People by Ann McGee-Cooper. What is "Hurry Sickness?" The hurrier I go, the behinder I get!" Ever have that overwhelming feeling of hopelessness? You go into work earlier, determined to get caught up, only to get hit with a deluge of crises, interruptions, and new projects. By the end of the day, you've worked as hard as humanly possible. Yet you marked nothing off your list while you added six big new responsibilities. Sound familiar? Then you aren't alone because most people are experiencing the influence of downsizing, the acceleration brought about by new technology and the pressure to get more done in less time with fewer people and fewer dollars.


But Hurry Sickness is more than just feeling rushed and wanting to get off the "worry-go-round" of daily obligations, the corporate rat race, or relief from pressure cooker lives. Just as Pavlov's dogs learned to salivate inappropriately, we have learned to hurry inappropriately. Our sense of urgency is set off not by a real need to act quickly, but through learned cues. Our 'bells' have become the watch, the alarm clock the morning coffee, and the hundreds of selfinflicted expectations that we build into our daily routine. The subliminal message from the watch and the clock is: time is running out; life is winding down; please hurry," says Dr. Larry Dossey in his book, Space, Time &Medicine. He continues, "The perceptions of passing time that we observe from our external clocks cause our internal clocks to run faster ... [Hurry sickness then is] expressed as heart disease, high blood pressure, or depression of our immune function, leading to an increased susceptibility to infection and cancer.“ Another metaphor comes from the medical world, called fibrillation. When your heart begins fibrillation (a rapid beating), the blood is blocked rather than pumped through it. In Hurry Sickness, you begin to rush without noticing that you may be defeating your larger purpose. By rushing through a meeting, for example, you may "end the meeting on time" but fail to build the trust or gain the buy-in needed from all parties. If you rush through a phone call, proud of your efficient use of time, you may miss the hesitation in your client's voice, and lose the sale as a result. Most important of all, you may rush through your life - be the youngest to become CEO, first to win the marathon, and first to earn your million - only to realize that, in your rush, you never quite had the time to enjoy your loved ones, or all the special moments that make life worthwhile. When a grown child tells you that you were never there for them, it can be too late to go back. However, it's never too late to hear the "wake-up call" of choosing to change and live life differently. OK, so you've made your point! But how do I change when all my life I've been rewarded for rushing? It's true. In school, you rushed to be first in line. You were rewarded for good work by being first to go to lunch. And the best student was described as being first in his/her class. So you must do lots of unlearning if you are serious about renewing your spirit, rediscovering your true effectiveness and enriching the quality of your life, work, purpose, and joy. Here are some ways to begin: As you plan each day and look ahead to the week, plan windows of time to go off the clock. Take off your watch for the evening or weekend. Plan time to do nothing. Enjoy day-dreaming, doodling, snoozing, or coasting.


When you evaluate your day, week or month, reward yourself for creating a balance of doing AND being, accomplishing work AND smelling the roses, being efficient AND being aware. Purposely plan silence into your life. Listen to your body, your feelings, and your intuition. The inspiration of genius rises out of silence. Did you ever stop to notice the cars in the "Indy 500" race? Of all the cars that begin that race each year, less than half finishes the race! Not a great performance record for the most expensive, best engineered, and most carefully maintained cars with price tags of approximately $.5 million. What is the single greatest factor leading to their failure? They are driven at only one speed - and the faster the better!

If you have the courage to recognize your own Hurry Sickness and choose to balance this compulsive life style with a more nurturing and balanced blend of speeds (neutral, 1st gear, 2nd gear, and even reverse), you will improve your health, long-term effectiveness, and quality of life. You'll also become a far better leader and a positive role model for those who love, respect, and trust you. Author: Dr Ann McGee-Cooper


Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction‌ Annie Sullivan

Middlespot promises a better way to visually discover, collect, and organize what you like. With a mashtab you can collect web pages, images, music, videos, web widgets, files, documents, code, and more in one central spot. Go to "my start page" and click ... and one option is "Kid Launch'". You can play there and explore all the options The site provides links to Funbrain, EdHeads, Lego,Sheppard Software, Fact Monster, IXL Math Practice, Help Kidz Learn, Dance Mat Typing, Britannica Online for Kids, and InfoPlease Homework Helper

Reading With Children (2.7MB PDF) Discover the joys of reading with your child. Enjoy a fable about a special friendship between a lion and a mouse. Then cut out paper finger puppets to act out the story.

What do people do in clock factories? O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O They make faces all day.


Teaching Genetics? Learn.Genetics™ is a site by the University of Utah. It provides comprehensive student and teacher information on learning and teaching genetics and heredity. It is aimed at tertiary students, but could be used with Secondary students, and by teachers everywhere.

Dolan DNA and learning centre Our programs serve middle and high school students, high school and college educators, and the general public. We offer laboratory experiments, computer explorations, and an interactive museum exhibition.

The important thing is not so much that every child should be taught, as that every child should be given the wish to learn.

John Lubbock


Learn How to Control Anger in a Relationship Can you recall what anger in a relationship feels like? Anger is a learned reaction to something negative in a situation, often referred to as a trigger. It’s best described as an unbridled horse. For instance, if you do not take control, it is likely to control you. I would like you to think about what provokes your anger. Make a list of your specific anger triggers. Now, look at your list and think of additional ways to help deal with stressful situations. This simple exercise will help you to recognize and then admit to your anger. Keep in mind that anger is controllable and a choice that you can choose to do something about if you want. If you tell your spouse or partner when you are angry, then it will help avoid a situation that could be otherwise pushed to the boiling point. Are you beginning to see how choosing to control your anger is an important first step? Now I want you to go deep into your own mind and visualize the signs when you are angry. Are you trying to conceal your anger by using sarcastic remarks toward your spouse or partner, wanting to lash out at someone or just feeling altogether aggravated? If you feel hot and flushed and your heart is pounding rapidly, there is a good possibility you’re angry. Other signs of anger include feeling tense or your head is throbbing because your blood pressure is skyrocketing. Stop yourself! Calm down before you say or do anything you are going to regret later. When it comes to anger in a relationship, always try to understand the other person's point of view. It’s not easy to put yourself in someone else's shoes but it can be done if you try hard. Be aware that the other person does not enjoy your anger anymore than you do. Just because you have a misunderstanding, be willing to cut the person you love some slack whenever possible. When you argue with your partner, do so in a helpful manner. Never, ever call the other person names or bring up experiences that happened in the past because it can serve to drum up painful memories. Never begin a sentence with "You never," instead focus on explaining how you feel, such as by saying, "I need" or "I want." This helps to deflect some of the anger and doesn't put the other person on the defensive right away. Sometimes in order to keep the peace it is necessary to walk away from a situation that is bringing up angry feelings on both people's parts. Often getting away from a situation will help you put it into perspective and then after you feel better you can go back and set things right. Author: John Doetsch Don’t let procrastination, hesitation or fear stop you. You can easily control anger in a relationship by visiting this site now:

Books “You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.� Paul Sweeney From the Pivotal Book Club archives:

Gemma Ranford wants the job cataloguing the documents of the Frazier family so much that she is ready to do battle to get it. What she didn't expect to find is references to the Heartwishes Stone - Heartwishes: An Edilean Novel

Stieg and Me Eva Gabrielsson


There is only one person who can tell Stieg Larsson's story other than himself - his lifelong companion and muse, Eva Gabrielsson. Here she tells the story of their 30-year romance, of Stieg's upbringing and early years, and how this shaped his morals and personality. She talks of his lifelong struggle to expose Sweden's Neo-Nazis, of his struggle to keep the magazine he founded, EXPO, alive, his difficult relationships with his immediate family, and the joy and relief he discovered writing the Millennium trilogy. Above all, this is a love story, and shows that if there was another secret besides Larsson's own imagination and convictions, it was his absolute love for his companion and her nurturing of their privacy and shared passions. It was written because she alone can tell this story.


For your Book Club

Proof of Heaven

In the Shadow of the Banyan

M D Eben Alexander

Vaddey Ratner

A SCIENTIST’S CASE FOR THE AFTERLIFE Near-death experiences, or NDEs, are controversial. Thousands of people have had them, but many in the scientific community have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those people. Then came the day when Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by an extremely rare illness. ... the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. This story sounds like the wild and wonderful imaginings of a skilled fantasy writer. But it is not fantasy. This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life.

You are about to read an extraordinary story. It will take you to the very depths of despair and show you unspeakable horrors. It will reveal a gorgeously rich culture struggling to survive through a furtive bow, a hidden ankle bracelet, fragments of remembered poetry. It will ensure that the world never forgets the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979, when an estimated two million people lost their lives. It will give you hope, and it will confirm the power of storytelling to lift us up and help us not only survive but transcend suffering, cruelty, and loss. ( … includes Book Club discussion notes)


For Pivotal Gold Rewards Members: Discount: Sins of the Father. The untold story behind Schapelle Corby's ill-fated drug run Eamonn Duff Winner: Best True Crime in the 2012 Ned Kelly Awards A senior investigative journalist reveals the explosive results of his three year probe into Australia's most famous drug case. $35.00 Your Pivotal Gold Rewards Members' price $29.05 ... 17% off Pivotal Gold Rewards + Member price $18.20

Pivotal Kids Books: Award winner Super Finn Leonie Agnew Winner of Tom Fitzgibbon Award 2010. Winner of New Zealand Post Children's Book Award: Best First Book 2012. Winner of New Zealand Post Children's Book Award: Junior Fiction 2012. Shortlisted for LIANZA Children's Book Awards: Esther Glen Award 2012 Can Finn use his superpowers to help save his World Vision sponsored child? Sometimes, despite the best intentions, things don't always work out as planned. Join the hilarity as the boys' money-making scheme comes unravelled. Look out, world ... here comes Super Finn!

Includes Teacher Notes

"Anyhow, kids are very tough. What they find for themselves they should be able to read for themselves." Ursula K. LeGuin 17

A Parable Of Risk: Betting On The Here & Now Wayne had waited all of his life to begin loving, to enter into communion with all beings. It seemed to him that there was always something more to atone for before he could feel himself worthy of Love. Another act of forgiveness to go through, another bad habit to overcome, another day of meditation, one more retreat, more solitude, always, always, though, there was the waiting. The call had resonated so deeply with him, he knew he had to follow. Where would it lead? He wasn't sure he could handle another journey and it's always accompanying dark night of the soul. He didn't want to head out again only to always be with himself, only to return to where he always is, to that place where all find themselves. Here. And that's when it deepened. It broadened, sweeping him up in waves of Love and Understanding. It was a felt sense of completeness, total and without exclusion. "Is that it", he thought? "That's all? You mean I need not go anywhere, need not do anything? And all this searching, all this time spent chasing my tail like a dog, only to find out, now, that, It never not Is, that, It Is ALL, even me, with all my insane judgements and chattering voices, sweeping emotions and compulsive desires. At that moment time ceased. At that moment the Reality of Eternity was no longer some fancy intellectual concept but known beyond a shadow of a doubt as the only Real experience he had ever had. The doors of perception flung openly madly revealing previously hidden dimensions of the Real that he now knew were the fundaments of all Createdness. Like so much ice melting in the sun of spring his once rigid boundaries were soon to be no more. The expansion of self to Self was merely his own Essence unfolding like a thousand petaled Lotus. A fragrance, an aroma wafted all around his boundless nature. Music, celestial tones emitted from his very Self, for he was the music of the spheres, the infernal Stars, the exploding Galaxies, the plains and rivers of Light and Love that rolled through them, the Awareness was him, was All. He could now chase down dreams with the innocence of a child, wherever and whatever---even whomever--- he would place his Awareness on he would become the Essence of.


"What Love", he thought, and it would increase. "What bliss and joy, what peace and understanding, what connectedness", and it was so. The separation ceased to be. He now knew that it was his travels, his journeys, his beliefs that he had to do in order to be worthy of that had prevented him from Being his Real Self, from embracing the Totality that simply IS, that he know knew to be ALL, from the heights of joy to the depths of despair. He was never, is never, not Divine. He was never, is never, not at One with All That Is. And so long as he believed he needed to go here or there, do this or that, in order to become worthy of being Who We Always Already Are he would fail to recognize his most Real Self; the Self that is One with All, that is not separate, but is of the same substance, the same Spiritual Prescence, that constitutes all of manifest reality. Was it a coincidence that at precisely the moment he realized it would only happen here, only happen now, It did? Was it merely an irony that when he ceased the search, the search ended, and not only ended but revealed to him what always already is the case, is the Condition of Reality? All he could do was laugh. There was no punishment needed, no judgement called for. In fact he now knew that as an Eternal One he co-created this game, this searching, these dramas, so that All might not be so bored with ItSelf.


Time wasn't an issue. Time doesn't matter to those who know Eternity. So what's the rush when you will never not Be? What's the headlong fury for when the Truth is that we have all time at our disposal, that our games have no whistle that is going to blow, that the only end to the drama comes when we choose to enact another role or choose to detach from all roles and enter once again into the Unified Field of Oneness? Judgement dropped with this understanding and Wayne knew that as he would re-enter the world of Gameplayers and Mask-wearers he would now allow all to play the part they believe is theirs to play, he was beyond judging others, for to him he now saw the Truth; that it would merely be judgement of Self, the Self that is unassailable, the Self that is you, him and her, this and that, those and these, us and them, here and there, One and All. We are Wayne.

by David Zoe David Zoe is in the process of unfolding into his own greater be-coming. A singer/songwriter he lives with the music that is now forever a part of all of us. As a writer it is his aim to communicate the truth of his experience as he understands it now. Currently David is present in southeastern Michigan to commune with all who so happen to cross paths with him. He can be reached via e-mail at

Four Natural Parenting Tips to Help You Maintain Your Sanity Are you into "natural parenting"? Do you parent according to the principles of "attachment parenting"? Regardless of your label of choice, deciding to embark on a non-mainstream parenting lifestyle means making yourself vulnerable to all of its one hundred and one challenges. When you choose to use cloth diapers, co-workers will call you "strange.“

When your two-and-a-half year old son is still nursing, your dentist will refer to it as "bad.“ Forbid your child to eat candy, and your neighbour may accuse you of "taking away her childhood.“ When your four-year-old is still sleeping with you and your spouse, friends will tell you that "it's going to ruin your marriage.“ I have not been a "natural parent" for very long; just a little under three years as I write this. But in that short space of time, I have learned some important lessons that I would like to pass on to anyone who feels at all overwhelmed by trying to do the natural parenting thing "right.“ With that in mind, here are four natural parenting tips that will help you to maintain your sanity. 1. Prioritize. Accept the fact that you can't do everything. Do you home school three kids and try to make all your food from scratch as well as wash the laundry by hand? Are you miserable in the process? I give you permission to buy a washing machine. And/or to feed your family a "healthy" convenience meal (such as whole wheat spaghetti with jarred organic pasta sauce) two or three times a week.


2. Be a diplomat. I've learned that certain answers to certain questions will provoke criticism. And I've learned that if I get defensive, I could cause strain in my relationships. So I answer in as courteous, yet vague, way as possible. For example, When someone asks you, "Is your baby sleeping through the night?", simply reply, "We're all getting plenty of rest, thanks for caring!" Or, if someone asks you, "Wow, three kids and your pregnant a-gain? How many you planning to have, anyway?" make them laugh: "Well, as soon as my husband and I figure out how all this works, we'll let you know.“

3. Don't major on the minors. Say your mother started you on solids when you were five months old and wonders why Junior, at seven months, is still exclusively breastfeeding. You could do one of two things: Spend the next several months arguing back and forth, getting defensive, and hurting your relationship, or Send her links to relevant online articles and tell her you're doing the best you can given the current scientific research, just as you are sure she did for you when you were a baby. And then drop the issue. 4. Delegate. If you have children older than four years old in the house, they should be helping with the household chores on a daily basis. If you have at least two kids over the age of eight in the house, you should be free of at least half of the housecleaning tasks. If you do and you're not, start training them now. As a veteran schoolteacher, I can promise you that children are more capable than we give them credit for. Parenting is hard enough. Let these four natural parenting tips ease you of some of your burden, and help you find more peace in your day.

As a wellness coach, Emily Jacques' passion is to help you optimize your health in every way as naturally as possible. She shares her knowledge of natural health and green living on her blog at Would you like to have someone cheer you on as you take steps to improve your health and well-being? Sign up for Emily's newsletter at You will receive your copy of her free report, "From Atkins to Raw: How America's Diets Are Failing Us," as well as ongoing tips, resources and encouragement to help you become the healthy, happy person you were designed to be!

The Passion Test - The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Destiny Following your passions is no longer a luxury. It has become a necessity. The good news is, The Passion Test is the simple, powerful way to discover your passions and align your life with what matters most to you, starting now.


Take your Passion Test Profile: This short, free evaluation will help you see what you can do to align your life with the things that matter most to you.

Listening , Mayer produced Born and Raised with Don Was, who

Born and Raised John Mayer Born and Raised, the new album from Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician John Mayer. The first single, "Shadow Days," Billboard calls "a gentle and shimmering confluence of mellow Southern rock".

King Animal Artist: Soundgarden

worked on albums for acts such as the Rolling Stones, B.B. King and Bonnie Raitt. Rock legends David Crosby and Graham Nash provide vocals on the title song "Born and Raised." Musicians joining Mayer on the album and on the road include highly-regarded keyboardist/pianist Chuck Leavell who has worked with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and The Allman Brothers Band as well as previous collaborators Sean Hurley on bass and Aaron Sterling on drums. Mayer's previous albums Room for Squares, Heavier Things, Continuum and Battle Studies have sold more than 12 million copies combined. He has been honored with seven Grammy Awards and an additional 11 nominations. He has also been included in Time Magazine's annual Time 100 list of the most influential contemporary thinkers, leaders, artists and entertainers, and twice been featured on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine’s annual "Guitar" issue.

“When I think of Soundgarden, I think of a sound, I think of one entity, one organic thing,” says singer and guitarist Chris Cornell, “but I guess that the exciting part is that it’s always been really varied.” Hailed as grunge innovators, Seattle's Soundgarden redefined rock music for a generation. In the 80s and 90s, the band’s mesmerising soundscapes and compelling lyrics… King Animal is Soundgarden's first studio album in 15 years, featuring the song-writing and vocal mastery of Chris Cornell, and the guitar genius of Kim Thayil, the band has shown that after all of these years, they have not skipped a beat. The band co-produced their sixth studio album with longtime Soundgarden friend and producer Adam Kasper (Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Pearl Jam) and recorded at Studio X in Seattle. 'King Animal' was mixed by Joe Barresi (The Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age, Weezer) in Pasadena, California.


Maverick Marketing: How to Stand Out, Get Better Results and Wrangle More Business Right Now! with Terri Langhans, CSP No one cares about your business. That’s how it feels sometimes, doesn’t it? To the people who hire us, many speakers, trainers and consultants are pretty much the same. Your topic is someone else’s (or everyone else’s). The economy this, the economy that. Blah Blah Blah. Would you like creative ideas and tangible tools you can use right away to make your marketing more effective, meaningful and memorable — no matter how big or small your budget? (And even if you don’t have a budget!) Terri will zero in on ideas you can apply now that get results quickly. You will learn: the four critical components your marketing message must have or do in order to be more effective.

how to distinguish yourself (and your onesheet) from the competition, no matter how much you look like “the other guy/gal.” the one thing your one-sheet is probably missing that could make all the difference in the world in getting you business. create direct mail that works. (And don’t tell her you’ve tried it and it doesn’t work. You’ll know why after this seminar.)

21 Adele Rolling Stone (p.70) "Adele has toughened her tone, trimmed the jazz frippery and sounds ready for a pub fight....When the grooves are fierce, Adele gives as good as she gets.“Rolling Stone (p.67) - Ranked #1 in Rolling Stone's '50 Best Albums Of 2011' -- "21 was this year's most stunning pop success....The sound is state-of-the-art retro soul..." Entertainment Weekly (p.83) - "[T]his album is that rarest pop commodity: timeless." Entertainment Weekly (p.99) - Ranked #1 in Entertainment Weekly's 'The Top 10 Albums Of 2011' -- "21 features a rare thing: a singer who can seriously sing, belting out inspired love songs inspired by another time on an album that feels genuinely timeless." Paste (magazine) - "On 21, she sounds refreshed and poised to attack....Adele emerges with a well-manicured batch of songs that, while still showcasing her interest in layered musicality, shoot straight for the pop charts..."


Les Misérables Soundtrack Les Misérables is the motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe and still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 27th year. Helmed by The King's Speech's Academy Award®-winning director, Tom Hooper, the Working Title/Cameron Mackintosh production stars Hugh Jackman, Oscar winner Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Samantha Barks, with Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption - a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory workerFantine's (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. In

December 2012, the world's longest-running musical brings its power to the big screen in Tom Hooper's sweeping and spectacular interpretation of Victor Hugo's epic tale. With international superstars and beloved songs including I Dreamed a Dream, Bring Him Home, One Day More and On My Own Les Misérables, the show of shows, is now reborn as the cinematic musical experience of a lifetime.


Presentations – The Single Most Powerful PowerPoint Slide You Can Use

PowerPoint problems run rampant in presentations, from busy, overdone slides that are impossible to read to poor usage where the speaker talks to the slide or blocks the screen. While there are lots of ways to improve slide quality and enhance PowerPoint usage, there is one little known, but powerful, strategy that can improve any PowerPoint presentation and put the focus more on the speaker, where it belongs. This wonderful strategy is... the black slide. Keep in mind, the objective of visuals is to complement what you're saying, to help the audience understand or remember a point. So it stands to reason that if your visuals are purposeful, then you won't have a visual up all the time. In fact, you don't need a visual up to relate an anecdote or have interaction with your audience. Neither is a visual necessary to set the stage or to wrap up or to signal the start of Q&A. Enter, the black slide. A black slide makes the screen go dark. Wherever you insert one into your PowerPoint presentation, there will be nothing on the screen. This enables you to tell that story or give that example or make that transition without the distraction of purposeless visual.


And you now have the focus on you (which is ideally where it should be!). Don't know how to create a black slide? Not surprising, since PowerPoint has no vested interest in helping you NOT use a slide! Here are some basic instructions (this is for PowerPoint 2007 -- every version is a little different; the key is to find the "Format Background" function): -Create a new slide and right-click on it -From the options that come up, click on: "Format Background" -In the box that comes up, select: 1. Solid Fill 2. Hide Background Graphics 3. Color: Click on the down arrow and select black -Click Apply (NOT Apply All!) Your slide will now be black and when projected in a room, will simply look like there's nothing on the screen. A great opportunity for the speaker to capture the focus! There is another trick that will create a dark screen. If, while you're in "Slide Show" mode, you hit the "B" key on your keyboard, your screen will go dark. When you hit it (or the mouse or the arrow or enter key) again, the visual you had darkened will come back up. (Please note that this feature works only in "Slide Show" mode.) Now, before you get all excited and think, "Great! I'll just use the 'B' key to go to blank in between some of my slides," let me offer a word of caution. First of all, the thing about the "B" key is that when you hit it the second time to get out of the black slide, it doesn't advance to your next slide. The visual you had up before the black slide will reappear. So it's going to be awkward to have to bring up your previous slide before you can go to your next one.

Secondly, what do you think the likelihood is that you're going to remember to hit the "B" key after certain visuals? It's risky to rely on your memory. It's much simpler to just insert a black slide when you don't want anything on the screen. Final suggestion, always end on a black slide. This is a nice way to end your presentation-nothing on the screen to distract from you during your close or the Q&A session. I recommend you create one instead of relying on PowerPoint's version... You may have noticed it has the tiny type on it that says, "End of slide show. Click to exit."

Not a big deal, but I have seen speakers who, moving in front of the projector with this slide up, had that white type run across their shirt or their face. It can be a little distracting. Leave your black slide there and don't exit the "Slide Show" mode until you are completely done with your presentation. If you exit Slide Show before you're done, the audience has to look at the "Slide Sorter View" of your program, which is busy and distracting. The black slide is the single most powerful slide you can use in PowerPoint. Use it often!

Barbara Busey, president of the training firm Presentation Dynamics, has been a professional speaker, trainer and author since 1990. She does training and speaking on the "dynamics" of how people "present" themselves, is the author of the book, "Stand Out When You Stand Up," and is the creator of The Compelling Speaker, a unique presentation skills training program that combines advance audio CD instruction with a hands-on, ultra participative workshop. She now offers the Compelling Speaker Certification, a turnkey system -- complete with training content & technique, business strategies, and marketing guidelines -- that positions communicators to make a living training other business professionals to become more compelling speakers. Go to Compelling Speaker Certification to see her video, listen to her audio, and learn when the next Certification training is.

30 weeks from now, you could be well on your way to being ....

--- Confident --- Admired --- Successful --- Rehired Join now, and get instant access to 30 powerful speaking tips (one per week)


Networking Tip - the Elevator Pitch Successful individuals are first, last, and always salespeople. They are constantly selling themselves and their ideas to investors, management, co-workers, vendors, and even their families. An opportunity to sell yourself and/or your ideas can come up on the subway, in the checkout line at the grocery store, after your yoga class - just about anywhere. To be ready to make a useful connection at any time, it's a good idea to be prepared with a short (one minute is ideal) self-promotional speech. Known as an "elevator pitch" (because you can deliver it in the time it takes for a short elevator ride), it is meant to engage the interest of a potential contact/prospect. Aside from introducing yourself and what you do, the elevator pitch has three important components:

Then, while looking in the mirror, practice, practice, practice. Remember, one minute is the length you're aiming for, so don't forget to time yourself.

1. What you can offer the other person 2. What you can offer the other person... and 3. What you can offer the other person

Have your business card in an easily accessible place.

As with any sales pitch, make sure your "offer" is about the benefits it has for the listener. The goal is to convince the other person to want to do business with you. Practice is crucial to delivering your pitch in a concise and effective manner. Write it down. Read it out loud. Commit it to memory.


Here's how to deliver your elevator pitch to a likely contact/prospect:

Make eye contact and smile. Introduce yourself. Ask the individual what he does for a living. Now... it's "show time"! Present your pitch - with enthusiasm - in one minute. Author Bob Cox is co-founder of the first TV shopping network and the author of The Billionaire Way. Listen to Robert's Power Surge Message next Wednesday and you'll quadruple your chances of meeting all your goals this year. Join over 700 ambitious Early to Risers who receive his inspiring, motivating and energizing advice every week as bona-fide members in ETR's Total Success Achievement Program

Online at

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