The 863 Magazine - January & February 2019

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January | February 2019

Apropos of Nothing | Jamie Beckett Could wrongness and accepting it be the answer to the meaning of life? It’s a mystery that is finally, probably, solved.


Crossword Theme: Disney. Answer key on page 17.


Davenport | Liz Morrisey It just might be an ideal community with expected growth, great schools, live theatre, Polk’s only winery, and much more.


Cover: Winter Haven Elite Baseball | James Coulter Winter Haven’s first travel youth baseball organization will allow local kids to play ball with teams across the country.


How Working Parents Find Work/Life Balance

A thing called the internet makes a new work environment of co-working, flexible hours, and telecommuting possible.


Break Through Your Threshold | Jai Maa

Apologizing unnecessarily may be leaking your energy. Use empathy instead and create mental distance for protection.




The 863 Magazine

Editor | Publisher Note


ersonal improvement is something I revisit every so often — New Year or not. Sometimes I think all’s fine asis, and the status quo is not to be messed with. But as someone who finds an interest in many things (or at least appreciates that others have interest), I can’t help but want to improve on this or that (learning French is a goal I intend to tackle in 2019). Sports is one of those interests that I can appreciate from afar. I love how people get into the sports so much that it’s practically in their DNA. We have always been a baseball family, and so it is with great anticipation we present our cover story this issue.

reational league and take their game (literally) to the next level, the organization will also provide training that will help them become better individuals overall. Read more beginning on page 12.

Winter Haven Elite Baseball is the city’s first travel baseball organization that will allow local kids to play with teams across the country, and ironically, not have them traveling far all the time. Meant for kids who are ready to advance from the rec-

Our “In a Nutshell” stories this issue include how working parents find balance on page 16; five tips to shed pounds (because reminders never hurt) on page 22; and how online banks might help you to grow your savings faster, page 21.

The City of Davenport is making efforts at besting itself. It already boasts Polk’s only winery and has a great live professional theatre group, in addition to being such a quiet community so close to I-4. The city officials are expecting more of both retail and commercial growth as it is one of the top five fastest-growing cities in Florida. Read more about Davenport on page 8.

Publisher Sergio Cruz |

Editor Andrea Cruz |

Art Director Alejandro F. Cruz |

Cover Designer Deborah Coker

In “Break Through Your Threshold,” our helpful advisor Jai Maa tells us about a friend of hers who was blamed for something he didn’t do, and how he built space to distance himself from any drama he was carrying in his own mind from the incident. Psst. Check out Jamie Beckett’s new headshot and be sure to tell him how handsome he is if you see him out and about in the 863. We adore that guy. Happy 2019 to you and yours!

Sergio & Andrea Cruz Publisher | Editor

Contributors Jamie Beckett James Coulter Sergio Cruz Jai Maa Elizabeth Morrisey

On the Cover Winter Haven Elite Baseball is the city’s first official travel ball organization that will allow local kids to play with teams across the country. Full story begins page 12. Photo by Sergio Cruz of The 863 Magazine.

Ad Sales Sergio Cruz |

Publisher | Editor photo The Cruz family members, from left, Andrea, Alex, Oliver, and Sergio, attend a Tampa Bay Rays game a few years ago. The boys played on little leagues many years and naturally became Rays fans. Sergio enjoyed sharing his love of the game with his sons. Andrea may have gone to the games just for the beer... Watch for a different editor / publisher photo in each issue.

The 863 Magazine is a product of Polk Media, Inc., a woman- and minority-owned business. For more info visit us online: or

Visit us online at or!


The 863 Magazine

Apropos of Nothing By Jamie Beckett

The search for the meaning of life is over. That’s right. Jamie Beckett has solved the greatest mystery ever. Well, he’s possibly solved it. But, of course, he could be—and probably is—wrong.


ike Juan Ponce de Leon searching for the Fountain of Youth, I have made it my business to dedicate my life to a cause. In my case, the search for the solution to the most important quest of all. What exactly is the meaning of life? Go big or go home, I say. Finally, I am happy to report that I’ve got it. At long last, after decades of searching, across thousands of miles, through deserts, over mountain ranges and oceans, on paved roads and down muddy footpaths, I believe I have found the answer.

Through nothing more than dogged determination and a set of finely-honed observational tools, I have discovered the crux of the human experience. That nugget of truth which has eluded philosophers and pundits for all time. I know. Understand, the profundity of this discovery is made even more astounding by the knowledge that it has been cloaked through the years, disguised by the almost unbelievably obvious nature of the solution. Which is this – you are wrong. In all things, at all times, in virtually every possibly scenario imaginable, you are wrong. Accepting your own universal fallibility is the true meaning of life. There, I said it. And you may well disagree or feel I’ve fallen short somehow. That’s okay. I take great comfort in knowing that even as those negative thoughts cross your mind, you are indeed, wrong again.

The proof of the theory is almost diabolical. Consider… Example Number 1: Remember when you were a kid and you dreamed gleefully of waking up on Christmas morning to find what treasures Santa had left under the tree? That was great. I loved that anticipation as much as anyone. But I was wrong. You were wrong. We were all wrong. And it broke our hearts. But once we accepted that we were wrong, life got better. We found peace, and tranquility, and eventually got our own line of credit. Problem solved. Example Number 2: When you were in Junior High School you fell in love. You fell hard. (S)he was so beautiful. (S)he possessed all the qualities you could ever want in another human being. You were soulmates. You were fated to spend eternity together. But, you were wrong. Have you seen how your dreammate turned out? Ugh. You dodged a bullet with that one and you know it. But in accepting that your pick of the litter was actually a dud-and-a-half, you developed a keener sense of intuition and moved on to greener pastures. Issue settled. Example Number 3: There was a day, some time ago now, that your first child was born. It was a happy day. You shed tears of joy as your imagination overwhelmed you with thoughts of a perfect life, with perfect children, in the perfect house, and the promise of so many satisfyingly serene days ahead. That was before the teething. The less-thanstellar report cards. That mystery dent in the car. And let’s not discuss the always infuriating, potentially embarrassing, and occasion-

ally expensive emotional outbursts on the part of every single member of your family. Your dreams went up in smoke, but, as with everything else in life, once you accepted that chaos was going to be the norm forevermore, everything got better. Proof positive that accepting your constant misjudgment as being just another part of the status-quo of being you…that’s all it takes to get you back on the sunny side of the street. Of course, you are welcome to continue my research into any and every part of your life, or the lives of others. I think you’ll come to see, as I have, that the true meaning of life is to simply accept that our intellectual, emotional, technological, and theological frailty dooms us to being incorrect in all things at all times. Isn’t it wonderful? But then again, I could be wrong. In fact, I’m sure of it. And that’s the beauty of it. Because in being wrong, I’m absolutely right, which only re-enforces the wrongness of it all, which in turn proves the theory. Try not to let your head explode as you ponder the possibilities. Just keep in mind, whatever occurs to you, is wrong.

Jamie Beckett appears to be an average, everyday guy who just happens to hail from Arizona, Connecticut, New York City, and Central Florida. He wears many hats — pilot, mechanic, writer, politician, musician, stay-at-home dad — often an odd combination of all those things. Frankly, we don’t care. At The 863 Magazine we just keep him around because we think he’s funny. That’s that.

January | February 2019


53. *Hannah Montana to Miley Cyrus 55. Farm sound 57. *Mickey’s predecessor 60. *Princess of Agrabah 64. Japanese-American 65. African migrator 67. Inverted circumflex above certain letters 68. Hipbone-related 69. Slippery sort 70. Related on mother’s side 71. More to some? 72. *Walt’s brother 73. Civil unrest, pl.

Theme: Disney ACROSS 1. *Store princesses 6. Pop-ups 9. Violin’s Renaissance predecessor 13. Relating to axis 14. *Like Cinderella Castle at night 15. Lowest part of a ship 16. Easily irritated 17. North American country 18. Ticked off 19. *Mighty Ducks home base 21. *Disney vacation 23. Philosophical system 24. Epidermis plus dermis

25. School group 28. Consideration 30. Vandalize 35. Performing ____ 37. Air of allure, slang 39. Tiptoe around it? 40. Pro ____ 41. Revealed 43. Cleopatra’s necklace 44. Tibetan ass 46. Dog nemesis 47. Any number multiplied by ____ is zero 48. Brett Favre’s 297 consecutive starts, e.g. 50. Shipbuilding wood 52. Spot command

1. Facts and figures 2. A yoked pair 3. Actress Kudrow 4. Policeman’s club in India 5. Trickiest 6. Reunion attendee 7. *NYSE acronym 8. Library storage 9. One of English Henries 10. Misfortunes 11. Curved molding 12. Was ahead 15. Black or brown haired guy 20. Idealized image 22. Free 24. ____ of limitations 25. *Disneyland and Disney World, e.g. 26. Characteristic 27. Perfume obtained from flowers 29. *Mickey Mouse organization 31. Fiddle with 32. Medicinal plants 33. Wispy clouds 34. *a.k.a. Permanent World’s Fair 36. Of sound mind 38. *Mom, to Gaston or LumiËre 42. *”The Fox and the Hound,” e.g. 45. Stinking rose? 49. Ornamental carp 51. Like “Hebrew National” hot dog 54. Fashion designer HervÈ 56. Yemeni’s neighbor 57. ____ E. Coyote 58. Terrorist org. 59. Grassy land tracts 60. 31 days 61. International Civil Aviation Org. 62. Profit 63. Augments 64. Zip or zilch 66. New prefix

Solution on page 17.



The 863 Magazine

Davenport: Developing

& Thriving Add expected residential and retail growth to already-existing features such as great schools, live theatre, Polk County’s only winery, and a weekly farmers market during season, and you have an ideal community. By Liz Morrisey


hat used to be orange groves as far as the eye could see, the city of Davenport has changed its philosophy as it realized it needed to be open to future growth, says Mayor H.B. “Rob” Robinson. In 2002, the city decided to expand its city limits which has been a “real plus,” he says. “Many wanted to keep it smaller, but the cash flow has helped us do things, such as repairs and new buildings,” Robinson says. The city will be adding a community center with two gyms, community rooms, a banquet hall, arts and crafts room, workout room and

media center. Davenport is still under 6,000 in population, but to its north is what seems to be never-ending growth by Interstate 4 and U.S. 27. And the city knows it can’t be stopped as the central location is now one of the top five fastest-growing cities in Florida. In the next two to three years, Davenport will see 4,000 new homes being developed. Currently, the city has 2,200 acres, but the city is working on annexing an additional 2,700 acres, which will allow for more industrial areas.

January | February 2019

Opposite page: Davenport’s City Hall was constructed in 1927 and is still in use today. Photo by Liz Morrisey. This page: The Visitor Information Center features a weekly farmers market during the winter season. Photo provided to The 863 Magazine.

“We’ll have a lot of rooftops and we’ll need commercial growth, too,” says City Manager Kelly Callihan. Davenport already has newly-developed Posner Park on U.S. 27 with stores and restaurants like Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Books-A-Million, Davenport’s Ale House, Starbucks and more are on the way. Fort Davenport was set up by the U.S. military in 1838 and named for Colonel William Davenport during the Second Seminole War. The settlement was originally known as Horse Creek and a post office was opened in 1884, then the name later changed to Davenport. Incorporated in 1915, it was a “booming” town in the 1920s and 30s with a railroad stop, country club, yacht club, and golf course, says Robinson. City Hall was constructed in 1927 as well as the elementary school. Davenport schools are going through a revitalization of sorts as renovations get underway for Davenport Elementary, a new charter school is in the works for the 2019-2020 school year and there are plans for a new high school in 2020. Davenport School of the Arts is considered one of the best schools in Polk County. “To have a great community, you need good schools and as businesses come in they want to know about your schools,” says Callihan. “Schools are important and we are looking forward to the new schools coming in.”

True Blue Winery Polk County’s only winery is located in the heart of historic Davenport. True Blue Winery’s specialty is an award-winning blueberry wine made from their very own orchard. Continued on page 10



The 863 Magazine City of Davenport, from page 9

“This is a nice, quiet area,” says Fatima Gill, owner. “It’s a good location and our business is doing well.” Not only are they known for their wines – also offering muscadine, peach and citrus – but the property includes a bistro with brick oven pizza, steak, salmon, chicken pot pie, Cuban sandwich and many other homemade dishes. Wash it down with beers, sodas, or wine, of course. During the spring, the winery hosts a Blueberry Festival with local vendors and music. True Blue’s unique property is also available for private parties, weddings or business conferences with 6,000 square feet of interior space and beautiful outdoor space. The bistro and winery are open October through June, Wednesday through Saturday. During summer months, the bistro is closed but the winery remains open. Visit for more details.

Theatreworks Florida Davenport is home to an award-winning professional theatre company in the former Davenport School of the Arts building on Palmetto Street. The traveling theatre, with past productions such as Disney High School Musical, Little Shop of Horrors, Legally Blonde, Sweeny

Todd, settled down in Davenport two years ago. Artistic Producer Scott A. Cook lives in Davenport and decided it was time to take a chance and bring the arts to this area. “Many people here have never experienced (the theatre),” he explains. “We are the only professional, award-winning company in Polk County. We have a reputation that precedes us across Central Florida. We decided to stay here and get arts out to the community.” TheatreCares, Theatreworks’ community outreach program, is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. They provide theatrical experiences for those who are physically, emotionally or financially challenged. One free program offering healing to others is Vet Voices. It provides disabled military war veterans the opportunity to deal with the affects of war through the art of live theatre. Cook says they attend workshops and eventually perform monologues about their experiences. “It’s so different from anything else. There is lots of healing by getting out into the world (what they’ve been through) through theatre,” he explains. Theatreworks’ most recent production was The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical in December, and Nunsense 2: The Second Coming will be on the stage in March. For more information: visit

Central Florida’s Visitor Information Center If you are looking for brochures and coupons for area attractions, visit Central Florida’s Visitor Information Center on U.S. 27 at 101 Adventure Court. Volunteers are ready to answer questions about the area and help plan your visit. Inside the doors is the Florida Sports Hall of Fame Preview Center, which showcases the history of Florida sports and notable athletes and figures in local sports. From December through April grab fresh produce and homemade goods at the weekly Farmers Market. The Visitor Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Events/Outdoor Activities The City of Davenport doesn’t shy away from hosting events throughout the year. In December, there is a Winter Fest, parade and an event for needy families, a car show is held quarterly, a children’s Easter egg hunt happens in the spring and Grills Gone Wild is a barbecue event in February. And of course, don’t miss the fireworks for the Fourth of July. “It brings the community together,” says Mayor Robinson. “The events provide enjoyment for the community.” Outdoor fun is just around the corner at Wilson Park, which features a splash pad. Or head over to Lake Play or Jamestown Park to romp on the playground or have a picnic. “The people here are what makes Davenport special,” Robinson says. “They are good Christians, law-abiding and friendly.”


The 863 Magazine

Winter Haven Elite Baseball

Play Ball! By James Coulter

Winter Haven’s first travel youth baseball program is now underway, providing local kids with opportunities to play ball with teams from across the country, without traveling far to other cities.

January | February 2019


Opposite page: Baseball helmets with the logo of Winter Haven Elite Baseball line the bench in a dugout. This page: A ball player for the WHEB organization is up to bat, while another player is on deck behind him. Photos provided to The 863 Magazine.


s a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player who was inducted into the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame, Andrew McGaffigan knows that an athlete is only as good as the support they receive from a young age. As such, McGaffigan, who was a pitcher from 1981-1991, appreciates organizations like Winter Haven Elite Baseball (WHEB), which not only helps train young children with the discipline to be great athletes on the field, but also to become good students and citizens off the field.

Visionary organizations like Winter Haven Elite Baseball are the lifeblood for the future of the game. — Andrew J. McGaffigan, Former MLB Player

“I just wish they had something like this when I was a kid, [as it] would have made my life a lot easier,” McGaffigan says. “That is why I believe that having the ethical aspect of the game taught and learned from people who have a desire to see young boys mature into healthy men, I think that is a great thing.” WHEB is the city’s first travel youth baseball program that will allow young local residents within the local area an opportunity to play baseball. Its young athletes will be able to participate, not only in games with teams from across the county, but also in Global Sports Alliance (GSA)-sponsored tournaments. Not only would the new organization allow local children the opportunity to play baseball locally without traveling far to other cities, but will also provide training that will help them become better individuals overall. “We feel that travel baseball has evolved into more than recreational leagues, and [while] recreational leagues are still very important to those youth seeking to play baseball at a different level of play, we want to offer our organization to those young players, that seek a higher skill level for training, from a higher level program,” the organization’s website states. Started fall 2018, WHEB initially expected to start out small with two teams and a few dozen players; however, the first tryouts drew in 91 players, and the following weekend drew in 33, exContinued on page 14


The 863 Magazine Youth Baseball League, from page 13

plains Steven Hunnicutt, board member. Currently, the organization has four teams with 51 players and 19 coaches. Since then, they have participated in 18 tournaments and one state championship, and they are expected to participate in even more, as the GSA hosts more than 50 tournaments across the state annually. Winter Haven is the second largest city within Polk County, but the only other city with a travel ball organization within the county is Lakeland. As such, prior to WHEB, local children interested in travel baseball had to travel out of the area to participate. Hunnicutt, a former mayor and city commis-

sioner for the City of Winter Haven, along with many other local parents, saw this as an inconvenience, and wanted to do something to help facilitate local children, which inspired him to help start this organization. “When you look at it, you want to give the kids the opportunity to keep them healthy and off the streets, get them out engaging with other kids so that they are not stuck on video games,� he says. With WHEB hosting games and tournaments within the city, the organization in turn will help spur economic activity, as both residents and visitors will most likely visit local eateries and other businesses following the games, Hunnicutt adds.

More importantly, WHEB will also help build the character of local children, as their participation will allow them to learn teamwork, sportsmanship, and discipline. Hunnicutt also sees the organization as a major draw for many potential residents seeking to move within the area, as many families seek out communities with active youth sports opportunities, and adds that he had spoken with one father who recently moved into the area, and who had been looking for a travel baseball organization like WHEB for his son to participate in. For another local parent, Sean Proctor, WHEB allows his stepson, Hayden Morris, 12, to continue playing a sport in which he has had

January | February 2019


a lifelong passion for, having started playing at age 4 and advancing to travel ball at age 8. The support his stepson has received from the other players and from his coach has allowed for a more cohesive and enjoyable playing experience. “Mainly I like the fact that Steve Hunnicutt expects the boys and the coaches, every time they go on the field… to put their best foot forward… and being a more positive person in the community,” Proctor says. “So he has been very passionate in making sure that this a safe place for the children to play.” For more info visit the organization’s website:

The Chain Of Lakes fields are the home to Winter Haven Elite Baseball. Photo provided to The 863 Magazine.


The 863 Magazine

How Parents Can Achieve Work-Life Balance


n the pursuit of having more time to spend with their families, an increasing number of working parents are requesting flexible working options from their employers, suggests new research.

Often referred to as “co-working,” a flexible workspace offers individuals and employees a productive and collaborative environment to work. Co-working has risen in popularity over the past decade and new research from flexible workspace provider, Regus, found that 85 percent of working parents would forfeit other benefits to take up flexible working, with 81 percent surveyed believing the top benefit is a better work-life balance. The growth of flexible workspace means that people increasingly have access to these locations no matter where they are, offering users the potential to skip a long commute and work closer to home. So, what would parents do with that extra time? According to the Regus survey, the number one activity parents would spend their time on, instead of commuting, is being with family (71 percent), followed by having “me-time,” like taking a long bath or meeting friends (38 percent). Employers should take note, as flexible working options are a top priority for employed parents. Ninety-six percent of working parents say that they would work for an employer that provides flexible working as part of a benefits package and 74 percent say they are willing to take on a different

Coworking spaces are providing parents with better work-life balance. Photo source:

January | February 2019

Crossword on page 7.

job if it offered a range of working locations. Looking to make the switch? Regus is sharing top tips to incorporate flexible working into your current employment situation: • Negotiate: If this option is not yet offered by your employer, negotiate. See if you can swap one benefit you may not use. For example, 85 percent of working parents reported that they are willing to work through their lunchbreak, and 85 percent would forfeit other benefits, like a company gym membership, to take up flexible working. • Think creatively about location: Commuting isn’t only about the time spent traveling from your front door to the office. It may be better for you to be near your child’s school or daycare, or near a client, rather than your main office. Flexible working can make this shift possible. • Banish the 9 to 5: For many parents, a 9 to 5 schedule doesn’t match that of their child. To get the most of flexible working, see if you can adapt your schedule with a late start and late finish, or early start and early finish. Or, throw the schedule out the window and focus on delivering results. • Flex your flexible working: If you can’t make the switch to fulltime flexible working, see if you can have this option available in emergencies, such as a gap in childcare or a tight schedule. “Parents especially struggle to ensure their careers and personal lives exist in harmony,” says Michael Berretta, vice president of Network Development for IWG, the parent company of Regus. “Using flexible workspace can allow for a schedule that better fits around personal commitments, and employers can expect more working parents to ask for this option.” To learn more visit Working parents have a lot to juggle and finding the right balance can be a challenge, but there are more opportunities than ever to add flexibility to their schedules. Article credit:



The 863 Magazine

Break Through Your Threshold By Jai Maa

“Not my monkeys” is a helpful phrase to create distance and stop leaking energy unnecessarily. Also, try using empathy instead of apologizing.


tan, a friend of mine, dropped by to share about a strange interaction he had while out at an event. He ran into someone he knew and expressed his joy in seeing her, and the woman misinterpreted his energy, thinking he was coming on to her. He was not. Stan had been friends with this lady’s partner for many years, and he was simply excited to see someone he knew at the social gathering. The next day, the partner of the lady came by Stan’s house to discuss what happened, concerned why his long-time friend, Stan, would dare hit on his partner. Stan is one of those gentle, loving, heartcentered kind of guys who always has a smile on his face and gives great big teddy bear hugs. There is not one creepy-vibe about him. He apologized to his friend, explaining that he was not coming on to her at all, and felt bad that she felt uncomfortable from their interaction. While Stan shared his story, I could tell he was confused as to what happened, and furthermore, I could see the small drama was taking up his focus and energy. “These are not your monkeys,” I said and we both laughed off the tension of the story. We continued a conversation of self-realization and made an important distinction of when to and when not to apologize. We also compared the difference between “feeling bad” verses having compassion for another whose “monkeys” have been triggered. Our “monkeys” are those unconscious fears and pains from the past that we create dramas with when we feel disturbed by another. When do you apologize and when is an apol-

ogy leaking your energy? Apologies take courage and are necessary to preserve relationships that matter. If you have done something you probably shouldn’t have, whether consciously or unconsciously, then apologizing helps clean things up and hopefully, restores trust. When you know you were sincere in your intention and have been accused of something you did not do, from that place, an apology is a form of leaking energy. You are basically apologizing for someone else’s triggered wounds that have surfaced for healing. You did not place those wounds inside of them, and it is not your responsibility to say “I’m sorry” for them. When you do this, you pacify the other’s wound and it settles back down into the darkness of their subconscious, only to be triggered again by the next innocent bystander. Instead, try using empathy. Empathy means you show understanding of the other person’s experience without agreeing with or making it your own. You are secure enough in your own experience to enter the world of another, while honoring that their feelings are their feelings and deserve to be heard. Rushing into an explanation to save someone from their feelings doesn’t serve them, and it most certainly doesn’t serve you. The moment you explain or defend yourself, you have already given your power away. Isn’t it loving to feel bad when someone else is feeling bad? No! When you “feel bad” for another who is already feeling bad, both of you drop your energy and become less available to the self-

realizations necessary to shift. Additionally, you amplify the other person’s “feeling bad” by focusing on them and sending them more “feel bad” energy. STOP DOING THIS! Instead of feeling bad for another, allow yourself to feel compassion. Compassion is love seeing pain. Remain centered and offer empathy and compassion when someone else’s wounds have been triggered by you. Giving away your power by apologizing or feeling bad serves no one. Stan has a heart of gold, so much so that he gives away extra energy in trying to help those who feel wounded. His intentions to serve others are great, and he’s becoming more aware of how to hold the space of another’s pain, verses trying to rescue them by giving up power. When being your pure, brilliant, beautiful, full-and-complete self, your light may trigger and awaken unconscious wounds of others. When this happens, and you are projected upon, ask yourself, “Are these my monkeys?” Enlightenment Challenge: When you find yourself saying “I’m sorry” in order to pacify another’s triggered wounds, try using empathy and compassion instead.

Jai Maa is a touring author and enlightenment facilitator who inspires others to create their visions with no compromise. An interfaith minister and native of Polk County, she travels with her cat companions teaching others how to co-create with God and live their own version of Heaven on Earth. For more information visit

January | February 2019

More info on Chat & Chew meetings:


January | February 2019


Could Saving With An Online Bank

Help Your Money Grow Faster?


hile there’s no doubt that putting money aside with each paycheck is an essential component to a healthy financial future, it’s important to keep in mind that not all savings accounts are going to give you the same pay back or benefits. It’s estimated that American consumers are missing out on over $50 billion dollars of interest they could be earning every year. The average interest rate on savings accounts is 0.08 percent, according to the FDIC, with many of the largest financial institutions paying as little as 0.01 percent. But did you know that the top online banks have interest rates 20 times higher than the national average, according to rates published by the FDIC? Because they have no physical branches, they are often able to pass on that savings to customers through consistently competitive rates. “A traditional bank savings account is certainly a safe vessel in which to deposit money, but it won’t necessarily help that money grow,” says Diane Morais, president, Consumer & Commercial Banking Products for Ally Bank, Member FDIC, which won the title of Best Online Bank in the GOBankingRates Best Banks ranking from 2015-2018. What’s more, online banks can offer greater

convenience and flexibility, since consumers can bank from anywhere on computers and mobile devices, and there’s no waiting in line or waiting for the bank to open. The most common services and transactions (i.e. monthly account maintenance fees, standard or expedited ACH transfers, domestic and international incoming wires, cashier’s checks and personal checks) are free at many online banks. And most online banks are FDIC insured, so a customer’s deposits are equally as protected as they would be at a traditional bank. To increase your savings, Morais recommends the following: • Pay yourself first. When you save, you are paying yourself, so be sure your monthly budget includes a line item for savings. You can make it easier to commit to this great habit by setting up automatic transfers to your savings account. • Do a little research. Find a bank that will pay you a more competitive interest rate on your savings. You may have to do a bit of compari-

Photo source: silverkblack /

son shopping, but the extra money coming your way will make the effort worthwhile. According to the FDIC, the median balance in U.S. savings accounts is around $5,000. At 0.01 percent interest, that equals 50 cents in interest for the year, however if that money was in a savings account at one of the top online banks, it would earn almost $90 of interest. To learn more about saving with an online bank, visit It is estimated that consumers have about $3 trillion in bank accounts earning a relatively low interest rate. If a portion of that figure belongs to you, consider making your money work harder by moving it to an account with greater interest earning potential. Article credit:


The 863 Magazine

5 Tips to Shed Those Pounds in the New Year


aybe you want more energy, or perhaps you want to lose weight and keep it off for good. Whatever your goals, a new year means a fresh start to become the best version of yourself. Here are five tips from Nutrisystem experts to get your scale moving in the right direction and support your long-term health.

1. Skip “Diet” Drinks Of course, you know not to order the regular cola with your meal, but you figure the lowercalorie diet version is an okay choice. Not necessarily. One recent review of research found that artificial sweeteners often used in diet drinks may not be as beneficial for weight management as intended, and that

drinking them regularly may be linked to an increased body mass index. If you want something fizzy, opt for seltzer with lemon or lime. But if you can’t stop dreaming of that diet soda, it doesn’t have to be completely off-limits. Just try to cut back. Moderation is key!

2. Drink More Water Every part of your body needs water to work properly. When you don’t get enough, your body can’t perform normal functions, which can drain your energy. More fatigue means less physical activity. Plus, mild dehydration is often masked as hunger -- prompting you to grab a snack when all you really need is water. Nutrisystem experts recommend drinking at least eight, 8-ounce glasses daily.

3. Slow Down It takes 20 minutes for the “I’m full” signals from your stomach to reach your brain. When you inhale your food, it’s much easier to eat more than your body really needs. One review of 23 studies found that fast eaters were about twice as likely to be obese, compared to slow eaters. To help slow down, take smaller bites, chew 10 to 15 times and put your fork down between each bite.

4. Don’t Eyeball Portions “The super-sized meals at restaurants

have given us a skewed view of proper portion size,” says registered dietitian for Nutrisystem, Courtney McCormick. Even if you’re tracking your food intake with an app or food journal, overestimating portions can sabotage progress. McCormick’s solution: Measure portions -not forever, but for a while at the start. Doing so will help you get a visual of what portions should actually look like. You may also consider eliminating some of the guesswork with a program, such as Nutrisystem, that offers pre-portioned, nutritionally-balanced meals.

5. Reduce Stress Stress can cause your body to burn calories more slowly, which could lead to weight gain, according to a study. Plus, stress increases hormones that stimulate appetite, and the foods you’ll crave for comfort tend to be high in fat and sugar. Help manage stress with deep breathing, meditation, exercise, hanging out with friends or listening to music. More tips on jump-starting your weight loss goals can be found at With these tips for the new year, you’ll be on the road to realistic weight loss achievement and have more energy for your day-to-day life. Article credit:

Drinking more water each day is just one way to facilitate faster weight loss. Photo source:

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