5 Tips from a Writing Coach that Fiction Writers and Entrepreneurs Can Use

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Many Americans lack good writing skills, which could be holding them back


Last year, The New York Times published an article titled “Why Kids Can’t Write.” The article points out that many would-be writers struggle with knowing where to start - and a problem that’s not limited to today’s youth.

There are millions of adults in the workforce who feel inadequate when it comes to sharing their thoughts in writing. Clearly, we are a country of citizens who are desperate for some insight into how we can improve our ability to express our thoughts and tell our stories in writing.

“We all have stories to tell,” explains Annalisa Parent, fiction writing coach, author, and entrepreneur. “The problem is, many would-be authors get stuck on how to tell the story, and tell it well enough so readers will read it and yearn for more. Many people get hung up on school leftovers such as commas and gerunds, and while grammar is important to a quality message, getting your message out should be the writer’s first concern. Many writers put the cart before the horse in this regard, and that’s where hang-ups and writers’ block come from.”

The best way to improve one’s writing skills is to write and to get meaningful feedback. Engaging in a lot of writing will help people hone their skills and become more comfortable sharing their thoughts. Here are five writing tips from Coach Parent that everyone can benefit from:

  • The first draft doesn’t have to be the last draft. In Parent’s experience, it rarely is. It’s okay to write several drafts to discover your message. In fact, Parent encourages it. To get to that final draft where you message is crystal clear, sometimes it takes asking for meaningful feedback to help a writer through the discovery and thinking phase. 
  • High quality. First drafts can meander, but aim for final drafts that are high quality. High quality writing is clear, concise, and on point, rather than just filling the pages with anything and everything. It’s better to have a little that is high quality than a lot that is just filling space and not saying a lot. 
  • Clarity. Go back and read what you wrote and make sure that your thoughts are clear. If they are not clear to you, then they won’t be to other readers. Aim for clarity so that it makes sense to the reader and they connect with it. 
  • Finding writing flow. Some of the best writing comes when you are in a groove and loving what you are doing. When you lose track of the time and could go on and on, you have found your writing flow. The convergence of neuroscience and creativity have opened the doors into finding creative flow easier and staying there longer. 
Get the feedback loop right. Many writers find themselves discouraged from seeking advice from the wrong source. As the saying goes, “free advice is worth what you pay for it,” and free advice from someone who’s not an expert only exacerbates the problem. Parent sees this as a stumbling block for a lot of writers who could otherwise be successful in sharing their message with the world.

“I could add many more strategies to this list in order to help people become better, more efficient writers and storytellers,” adds Parent. “It’s not just kids who need better ability to express themselves today. Many adults are struggling as well. Following these five tips can help people become more confident, comfortable, and their words will flow much easier. The more confident someone becomes with their writing skills, the more they will be able to reach their reader and get across their intended message.”

Parent has coached hundreds of writers and has taught over 100 writing courses around the world. She works with fiction authors, as well as entrepreneurs seeking to write their expert book. Her book Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel without an Outline won the CIPA EVVY Silver Award in Best Business Books, and earned a merit award in the Humor category. She has been a featured speaker on writing-related topics across the globe, and she has been a guest on a variety of television, radio, and podcast shows, sharing her secrets for how to write, publish, and sell your book.

For more information about Annalisa Parent, her book, and her coaching services, visit her site at: http://datewiththemuse.com. For more information on how to become a published author, download her free ebook The Six Secrets to go from Struggling writer to Published Author here: www.datewiththemuse.com/6secrets.

About Annalisa Parent
Having taught over 100 writing courses, Annalisa Parent has reached countless writers around the world. She offers coaching writing services that have been instrumental in helping writers to go from idea to publishable piece and have the confidence to take their work to the market. She is also the chief executive officer of Laurel Elite Books. For more information on her services, visit her site at: http://datewiththemuse.com.


Source:

The New York Times. Why Kids Can’t Write. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/education/edlife/writing-education-grammar-students-children.html



What's This? #mermaidmonday

The little mermaid by elara-dark
No, I didn't run away I just had a terrible bout of back pains this past month which made things difficult to get done. I'm working on NaNoWriMo so hopefully, I will have a big chunk of Confessions of a Nixie ready to edit at the end of the month.

What are you guys up to this month?

6 Ways To Teach Your Kids About Finance

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Back-to-school time means plenty of lessons to learn in the classroom. But parents usually have to be the teachers when it comes to a subject their kids will need to understand throughout their adult lives – personal finance.

Studies show that teaching finance is not a top priority of the U.S. education system. Fewer than 20 percent of teachers report feeling competent to teach personal finance, according to a Council for Economic Education Survey, and only 17 states require students to take a personal finance course in high school.

“The majority of your kids’ financial education will come from you,” says Kathy Longo (www.flourishwealthmanagement.com), the author of Flourish Financially: Values, Transitions, & Big Conversations. “Because we parents have such a great influence on how our kids spend, save, and invest, it’s critical that we teach them early and often how we want them to value money.”

Longo, who is also president and founder of Flourish Wealth Management®, provides a list of ideas and discussions that can help your kids learn about finance at different developmental stages:
  • Learning wants versus needs. Longo believes the foundation of a child’s finance education begins with learning the difference between wants and needs. “Asking kids whether they want or need something before they make a purchase really gets them thinking about their own money values,” Longo says. 
  • Using a three-slotted piggy bank. In grade school, Longo says it’s important to teach kids about money in a tangible way. Three slots to separate dollars for saving, sharing and spending can help them understand the connection between the money in their piggy bank and the new toy they bought, Longo says. 
  • Giving back. Teaching your kids the importance of giving, such as by donating toys they no longer use, is a lesson that can stick with them for life. “You can strengthen that by talking about charities you support with dollars and time,” Longo says. “This is a great way of showing them that valuing money also means helping those less fortunate.” 
  • Making a budget. By middle school, Longo thinks children should have an idea of what it costs to keep the house running each month. “Once they have a concept of a budget, get the kids involved in spending decisions for big-ticket items, like a car or family vacation, and the considerations that go into the purchase,” Longo says. 
  • Explaining college. We all know it’s expensive, and Longo says teenagers should know early on in high school how loans, grants, and a college savings plan work. It’s also important to educate students about the additional financial opportunities they’ll have in life if they earn a college degree. 
  • Getting a job. Is there a better way for your high school student to learn financial responsibility than by working part-time and paying for their gas, fun activities, etc.? “This is a good time for them to get a debit card, to learn the importance of a good credit history, and to see how staying within a budget requires discipline,” Longo says. 
“Helping your children develop healthy money habits today,” Longo says, “will increase their chances for a happier life.”

About Kathy Longo

Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA is the author of Flourish Financially: Values, Transitions, & Big Conversations, and president and founder of Flourish Wealth Management® (www.flourishwealthmanagement.com). She has over 25 years of experience as a wealth manager and financial planner. A graduate of Purdue University with a B.S. in financial planning, Longo was named one of the Top 50 Women in Wealth Management by Wealth Manager Magazine. She has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Money Magazine.

How To Keep Exercising Despite Chronic Pain

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Pain is a great excuse if you don’t like to exercise, and it’s certainly something many people with chronic pain would just as soon avoid.

Yet at the same time exercise is one of the things that can help make that pain go away.

“It can become a Catch-22 situation,” says Dr. Victor M. Romano, a board certified orthopaedic surgeon and author of Finding The Source: Maximizing Your Results – With and Without Orthopaedic Surgery (www.romanomd.com). “We don’t want to exercise because we have pain, and yet exercise will usually help you reduce the pain over the long run.”

Research has shown that exercise is an essential aspect in the treatment of chronic pain. Lack of exercise can cause a downward cycle of deconditioning and worsening pain. But exercise can help those with chronic pain engage in enjoyable and essential activities of daily living with greater ease. Stretching, cardio exercise and weight lifting are the three types of exercise most people should include in every workout, Romano says.

Doctors generally ask patients to rate their pain on a scale of one to 10. The average intensity of pain experienced for 12 or more hours over a 24-hour period is considered their baseline pain. Romano says if, during exercise, pain levels increase by more than 2 points from the baseline you should stop and modify that exercise to ensure you do not cause a flare up of your pain.

Of course, a good diet is also important.

For people who suffer from chronic pain, Dr. Romano offers these exercise tips:
  • Try shorter exercise periods. It is better to exercise in short bursts than in one long workout. Even five minutes is better than nothing. Everything counts. 
  • Weight training is also important for seniors and women. Research has proven that weight training is good for everyone, regardless of sex or age. Make sure to incorporate it into your exercise program. 
  • Stretching is important. Go online and find some good stretching exercises and incorporate them into your daily routine, even if you don’t exercise that day. 
  • Try yoga or tai chi. These programs have shown success with people with chronic pain. 
  • Mind over matter. If you need to do an exercise that you know is going to be painful, start by taking some deep breaths and focus your energy. Take your time. 
“Even though exercise for somebody with chronic pain sounds counterintuitive,” Romano says, “it is very important as part of recovery therapy.”

About Dr. Victor Romano

Dr. Victor Romano (www.romanomd.com) is an orthopedic surgeon and the author of Finding The Source: Maximizing Your Results – With and Without Orthopaedic Surgery. He is board-certified in orthopedics and sports medicine with over 25 years of experience in the field. He graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and completed medical school at the University of Loyola-Chicago.

Inspiration #MermaidMonday

Mermaid Makeup by AnnitaAlves
What are you guys doing for Halloween? Who is dressing up? What are you going to be? Tell me below.

Hipster Ariel #MermaidMonday

Hipster Ariel - The Little Mermaid (2) by Teal-Eyes

To Achieve More Than Ever Before, Reprogram Your Brain with a Specific Plan

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“If you’ve ever attended a seminar and been inspired to make great change, only to find yourself right back where you started, you’ve experienced the enormous gap that exists between setting goals and actually reaching them,” says John Assaraf. “Whether you’re trying to do something as simple as exercise once a week or something as daunting as leaving your job to start a business, that gap is always there.”

So how can people overcome this gap between setting goals and achieving them? The key, John asserts, is in creating a specific plan.

“Plans can help bridge that gap between goals and achievement,” he says. “Without plans, your goals are really just dreams. The reason plans work so well is because of the way they impact the brain.”

Here are four distinct reasons why “Innercising” your mental-planning muscle can make all the difference:

1. HOW and WHY work differently in the brain: Goals with a high emotional value can create a dopamine release in the brain. If you set a goal with a powerful why, you experience that first dopamine hit. But while that why is critically important to creating your goals, it’s only a first step on the road to accomplishing them. The old saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” isn’t quite accurate. Where there’s a will, we also need to create a clear way. We need to make sure we activate not just the parts of the brain that help us create the goal, but also the parts of the brain that help get us there.

Spend all your time in “why” and you’re a dreamer who never takes action. Spend all your time in “how” and you might be busy, but with what? When you activate these various parts, an important switch takes place. You move from your conscious mind to your subconscious mind; you move from the realm of imagination to the realms of belief, action, and, eventually, productive habits.

2. Your brain thrives on the mini-success of plans: The initial boost of dopamine you get from setting a goal is helpful — and you can continue to support your efforts by focusing on your goal — but that’s not enough. Big change is almost always a long-term project, and for that you need the ongoing motivation that comes from regular dopamine infusions. Fortunately, that delivery method is prewired into your brain. Every time you succeed at something, your brain releases more dopamine. It’s a reward system designed to keep you doing more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.

The secret to those tiny bursts is a clear plan created from small steps. Each baby-step success provides a dopamine boost that motivates you to take another step, and on and on. With enough doable steps, you can create a virtuous cycle that ensures you have a steady supply of motivational fuel to reach your goal.

3. Goals are loose ends in the brain: One of the surprising paradoxes of change is that goals can actually distract you from… well, reaching your goals. Because your brain is so goal-oriented, it keeps focusing on your goals even when you’re not actively working toward them. When you want something and you don’t yet have it, your brain continues to allocate resources to “keeping the goal alive” until you can accomplish it. This would be fine if we only had one goal to think about. In reality, though, your daily life is filled with a multitude of goals of wildly varying sizes. Even the act of brushing your teeth is fulfilling a goal.

The result is that goals become a kind of loose end in the brain, and those loose ends can distract us from the work of actually tying them up. It’s a surprising contradiction, but one we have to resolve in the brain. The best solution for this is planning.

4. Your two brains are time-conflicted: Imagine that you’ve set a goal to lose weight. To accomplish this, you’ve decided to change your diet. Setting the goal has likely inspired you, yet, almost without realizing it, you find yourself adding less-healthy choices to your shopping cart or sitting in front of the TV with a bowl of something sugary. What happened? How can you be so motivated in one moment and so off-track the next?

The culprit in this case is how different areas of your brain view time. You see, parts of your brain have the ability to set goals for the future while other parts are more inclined toward immediate gratification. Once again, planning is the bridge. A good plan tells you what to do next. Without one, you can feel a void that you’re likely to fill by reaching for default unhealthy habits you’ve been stockpiling over the years.


John Assaraf is a serial entrepreneur, brain researcher, and CEO of NeuroGym. In the last 25 years, John has grown 5 multi-million dollar companies in real estate, internet software, brain research, and life and business coaching and consulting. He is the author of two New York Times best-selling books: “Having It All” and “The Answer.” His brand-new book is called “Innercise: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power” (Waterside Press, 2018). John has made frequent appearances on Larry King Live and has been featured in eight films, including the blockbuster smash hit “The Secret” and “Quest for Success” with Richard Branson and the Dalai Lama. He is one of the leading behavioral and mindset experts in the world, with a unique ability to help people release the mental and emotional obstacles that prevent them from achieving their very best in life and business. John is a vegan who creates and eats his own hot sauces, meditates daily, and exercises six days a week. He loves skiing, traveling, taking cooking classes, listening to the Bee Gees and Enigma, and being a dad, husband, and mentor.

To Dream #MermaidMonday

Mermaid's Dreams by Helea1
Starfish wishes and seaweed crowns are what little mermaid dreams are made of.

How to Get Your Child to Do Homework Without a Fight

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Carol Tuttle, author of The Child Whisperer tells us how.

When it comes to your child's homework, do you beg, plead, or bribe? Do you threaten consequences? You can make homework easier for both you and your children with some simple tips that honor their natural energy.

Every child has a dominant Energy Type that determines the way they move through life. It affects everything they do—playing, talking, eating, sleeping. And yes, it even shows up in the way they do homework!

Ready to take the struggle out of homework? Here are homework tips for the 4 Types of children:

Homework Tips for the Fun-loving Type 1 Child. These bright-minded children think quickly and like to move. Their thought process works like snapshots of ideas, so engaging in a linear experience can be challenging for them.
  • Pre-homework playtime. If your child attends a traditional school, they need time to do something light and free before jumping into homework. Let them come up with ideas of what they’ll do—that will give them something to look forward to during the structured experience of school. 
  • Homework jumping. Allow them to jump from one activity to another. That’s how their brain works anyway. Extra movement of things going on in the background is actually helpful for them because it allows them to disconnect from their homework and then connect again. 

Homework Tips for the Sensitive Type 2 Child. These subtle children work methodically and are great with details. They are naturally quieter, so speaking up about what they might need can be a challenge for them.
  • Planned routine (one that they plan). These children do best when they have a plan that they have made themselves. Which steps will they follow to get things done? You can ask this very young (5 or 6 years old) as Type 2 children are already thinking this way. 
  • Invitation to connect. Type 2 children often want their parents to recognize the work they’re doing without knowing how to ask for it. Take a second to connect with them while they’re working and invite them to share with you. 

Homework Tips for the Determined Type 3 Child. These active children move swiftly and like getting things done. Their natural speed can be a challenge when it comes to detailed tasks they feel are tedious or pointless.
  • Help them see the point of it. These children will do homework when they see the point. If they don’t see it, they’ll try to get around it somehow. They’ll pick the grade they want and do as much as they have to do to get it done. Help them see the practical purpose. 
  • Make homework part of the extracurricular fund. Money is a great motivator in the Type 3 world. If you plan to pay for extracurricular activities, you could attach a money value to finishing homework and that money goes to a sport or lesson they really want. You’ll be spending the money anyway and they’ll enjoy the feeling of accomplishment as they work toward an activity they really want. 

The More Serious Type 4 Child. These focused children are self-motivated. But if they’re not respected for who they are at school, they’ll buck the system. It will look like rebellion, but it’s really just their attempt to stay true to their nature.

  • The respectful phrase. These children feel offended when you tell them what to do because they’re aware of their responsibilities. Try this phrase: “Looks like you’re doing great. Let me know if you need help.” Let them come to you, which they will, if they think they need help. 
  • Ownership of a space. Set aside one consistent place that they can take ownership of at the same time every day to do their homework—not the kitchen table. If possible, get them their own desk or a place that’s separate from where everyone is moving around. 

Parents: here’s your homework assignment to end the homework struggle for good:
Set the intention that you and your child are experiencing ease and enjoyment as you support them in their homework. It’s possible and you can start today.


Carol Tuttle is the CEO of Live Your Truth, LLC and author of the best-selling parenting book, The Child Whisperer: the Ultimate Handbook for Raising Happy, Successful, Cooperative Children, which has sold over 75,000 copies worldwide. She also hosts an immensely popular parenting podcast, that hits weekly on important parenting issues commonly experienced by families of all backgrounds. For more information, please visit, www.thechildwhisperer.com.

5 Tips for Working Moms to Survive the Back to School Hustle

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From the moment my daughter got out of school in May to the end of July, was a complete blur. It was a blur of summer camp, work, travel, deadlines, proposals and pool parties. The fact that she was going back to school in three weeks had not occurred to me. When it did, I panicked. Where did the time go? I frantically realized I had no idea what day school started and had to ask another mom. I got a brisk answer of “August 20th,” which I like to call the “working mom fail” response. The guilt of not knowing when my child starts 2nd grade and feeling completely overwhelmed set in. Where do I begin? I’ve got to sign her up for fall activities, get a new backpack, lunchbox, some new clothes and also manage my job, meetings, travel and various work expectations. As working moms I think we feel there is no easy way to do all of this and keep a clear head and stay on task, but I have found five great tips for surviving back to school as a working mom:

1. Order Online:
Spare yourself the hustle of shopping. No need to throw everyone in the car in 100-degree heat to head to your favorite retail super store, fend off the kiddos requests for toys and candy while back-to-school shopping. It is not worth it. Modern technology allows us the ability to order online for backpacks, clothing and supplies. Think of the time and energy you will save by sitting on your couch and checking some boxes and swiping “check out”. This also applies to grocery shopping too, which is becoming more and more common. Download the app for Shipt or Amazon Prime and let them do the grocery shopping for you. Do it a day or two before school starts. The kids can make their requests so they get to put some creativity into their lunchbox choices. Other positives are that it isn’t expensive to shop online and it saves money because you avoid over-buying in a store.

2. Let the Laundry Lie:
Where does your laundry lie? Mine sits on a bed in the guest room.

Clean, yet unfolded. But clean. The point here is, let your laundry lie. It is okay to let some things slip during back -to -school time. You will have so much on your plate as it is, don’t let the mundane domestic stuff get to you. Not having every thing completed or accomplished around the house is okay. You will not get a ticket or a fine for letting some things in the household fall behind. Give yourself permission to know that it is okay if you don’t get everything done. It is completely normal, and you will eventually catch up.

3. Get Your Routine Back:
In the summer our routines are typically off. As I mentioned, it can feel like a complete blur when so much is going on. Activities, camp and work will run you, instead of you running them. No shock there. Bringing structure and school back into your life can be a struggle, but welcome it because it brings the return of normalcy. Give yourself a cushion returning to the routine by practicing earlier bedtimes and waking times week before school starts. This will get us parents and kids back on schedule. Also, create a family calendar with upcoming school activities and your work schedule to make sure that all planets are aligned, and if not, this gives you time to create a family management strategy.

4. Be Guilt Free:
I think the hardest thing about being a working mom during back -to -school is missing school events. The hallmarks of the beginning of the school year like Fall Festival or Meet the Teacher are big events for the kids. Missing them can make you feel disconnected from their little lives and the guilt can take over. This is also difficult because you miss the chance to meet other parents and classmates at these events. You start to feel like a constant outsider because you are the mom who isn’t around enough. Don’t beat yourself up or hold yourself to an impossible standard. Know that you are doing everything that you can to accommodate both school and work and that you are still present in your kids lives, even when you can’t physically be with them.

5. Connect with other working moms:
I have a lot of wonderful friends who are stay- at -home moms. They tend to keep me grounded and I rely on them a lot for my sanity. Working mom friends can be super supportive too because they are most likely experiencing the same emotions and situations. For overall complaining, coping and time management ideas your working mom friends will happily listen and help you. In addition, their schedules will most likely parallel yours, so for all of those 2:30 play dates you have missed, you can now do play dates on schedules that accommodate the work day. The silver lining here is that you get to solidify strong relationships with other women who will stand by you when you need support.

Managing back-to-school time will never be perfect or fool proof, but working outside of the home can bring on some added stress. It is balancing act that can cause disruption as you get adjusted to the new school year and schedules. Know that you are not alone, and we are all muddling through it together.


Holly Caplan is a mom, workplace issues expert, career coach and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl's Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World. For more information, please visit, www.hollycaplan.com and connect with her on Twitter, @hollymcaplan.

It’s time for a ride to the pumpkin patch!

Seasonal Pumpkins Bring More “Orange” to Orange County, N.Y.



Crisp air, colorful leaves, and fields of glowing pumpkins await you in Orange County, N.Y. Located in the Hudson Valley, just one hour north of New York City, Orange County’s “pick-your-own” pumpkin farms offer a myriad of fall family fun activities all season long.

“Why pick from a pile of grocery store pumpkins when you can color your fall with a fun farm experience here in Orange County?” asks Amanda Dana, Director of Orange County Tourism. “Ride a hay wagon to the pumpkin patch to find your perfect Jack-o-lanterns. See why it’s become a rite of fall for so many families.”

Some local “U-Pick” farms in Orange County, N.Y. your family will love include:

Lawrence Farms Orchards, 39 Colandrea Road, Newburgh: Lawrence Farms welcomes visitors for their U-Pick season, which lasts through the fall. During the month of October, head to the farm for pumpkins, grapes, tomatoes, and additional fresh produce. The scenic location also offers a haybale maze and other activities for kids as well as a concession stand serving savory apple cider donuts, roasted nuts, paninis, and more. For more information, visit lawrencefarmsorchards.org.


Manza Family Farm, 730 State Route 211, Montgomery: Celebrate the start of autumn with a trip to Manza Family Farm’s Fall Festival. Pumpkins are grown on more than 20 acres of farmland and visitors can enjoy tractor-drawn hayrides, pony rides, a straw maze, farm animals, and more. Open weekends throughout the month of October. For more information, visit www.manzafamilyfarm.net.


Maples Farm, 749 Route 17M, Middletown: This second-generation family business hosts an annual Halloween Festival with U-Pick pumpkin patches, hayrides, a hay maze, farm animals, a haunted barn, and country fair midway. Open weekends throughout October. For more information, visit www.maplesfarm.com.


Pennings Farm, 161 South Route 94 and Warwick Turnpike, Warwick: Located on more than 60 acres of farmland, Pennings’ U-Pick season offers activities for the whole family including hayrides, pony rides, face painting, live music, and outdoor dining. For more information, visit www.penningsfarmmarket.com.


Pierson’s Farm, 1448 Route 211 West, Middletown: Visit one of the oldest farms in Orange County when you attend one of Pierson’s Farm’s seasonal events. The farm’s Fall Festival includes a pumpkin patch, hayride, corn maze, petting zoo, haunted events, and more. Open late September – October. For more information, visit dreamfarm.piersonsfarm.com/events.


Wright Family Farm 329 Kings Highway, Warwick: New this year: Pumpkin Cannons! Take a free hayride to the nine-acre pumpkin patch to pick that perfect pumpkin. Get lost in a five-acre corn maze! Little ones can dig in a crunchy corn box and play at rubber duck racing. Take a whirl on the pedal carts and ride the cow train. There are pony rides, a community campfire and lots more! The pumpkin patch opens September 15. For more information, visit www.wrightfamilyfarm.com.


Find more pumpkin patches and fall farm fun on the Orange County Tourism website Agritourism pages and online calendar of events. Groups should call ahead to make special arrangements for their pumpkin picking outings.

Visit www.OrangeTourism.org for a full list of lodging, activities, and attractions. Orange County Tourism’s Facebook page: Orange County Tourism NY is a fabulous guide to up-to-the-minute postings of area events and activities, great times, and memorable experiences available to visitors.

About Orange County Tourism

Orange County Tourism, based in Goshen, N.Y., is the county’s tourism headquarters and a participant in the I LOVE NY program. A comprehensive listing of area attractions, lodging, and events can be found at www.OrangeTourism.org. For a free copy of the Orange County Travel Guide, e-mail tourism@orangecountygov.com or call 845-615-3860.

4 Reasons Being Creative Will Make You Happier As You Grow Older

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We don’t all age like fine wine, but there’s plenty of proof that the creative juices can keep flowing well into the twilight years.

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Millard Kaufman wrote his first novel, Bowl of Cherries, at the age of 90. Benjamin Franklin was 78 when he invented the bifocal lens. Frank Lloyd Wright completed the design of the Guggenheim Museum in New York at 92. Frank McCourt won a Pulitzer Prize at 66 for his first novel, and Giuseppe Verdi wrote the acclaimed opera Falstaff at 79.

Clearly, creativity and aging aren’t always mutually exclusive. Psychology Today reports the aging brain is characterized by a broadening focus of attention, which is a hallmark of creativity. And being creative into the senior years, research shows, can make us happier. One research project, The Creativity and Aging Study, conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts and The George Washington University, determined senior citizens engaged in creative pursuits - such as writing, painting and music - enjoyed greater feelings of morale and better overall health.

Award-winning author and poet Piero Rivolta, 77, enjoyed successful careers in car manufacturing, commercial building and sailing before re-dedicating himself as a writer the last few years. Being creative as one gets older, he says, brings more enjoyment of life by putting us more in touch with our authentic selves as well as with the outside world.

And he wishes more people took that approach sooner.

“People need to adapt a creative, poetic way of living,” says Rivolta (www.pierorivolta.com), whose ninth and most recent book is Bridge Through The Stars: A Novel of Desire and Destiny. “That starts with what is inside of them and letting it out.

“Today, too many people don’t see too far away from their nose. Money has become too important. We need a poetic sense of life, following our intuition, nurturing our curiosity and engaging in the world around us. Let the mind wander and become absorbed in a vibrant, creative process, leading to discoveries that can influence your future or even humanity.”

Rivolta gives four reasons creativity can bring more happiness later in life:
  • It drives brain growth. Research shows creativity fires neurons that creates connections in the brain, essentially making the brain grow as it gets older. And, Rivolta says, a mentally active person with an open, curious mind tends to stay inspired and be happier. “It’s exhilarating to keep our minds moving and adding to them,” Rivolta says. “And older people already have a vast warehouse of knowledge to share creatively.” 
  • It adds self-esteem. New creative outlets later in life can remove any identity crisis one is feeling in retirement. “You really need a sense of purpose as you get older with seemingly less to do,” Rivolta says. “Creatively doing things you always wanted to do gives you immense satisfaction and more happiness. It’s exciting; you’re finding new parts to yourself.” 
  • It expands your social world. Studies have shown many aging people feel isolated. Creative pursuits such as art classes are a great way to connect socially. “It’s so important in older age to connect with others and not go it alone,” Rivolta says. “And whether you’re sharing ideas, the gift of your talents or just time together, it makes for a much happier existence.” 
  • It reduces regrets. Some senior citizens harbor regrets, wondering what would have happened if they had tried something new. “Being creative is a way to somewhat make up for that, and feel the satisfaction of taking action like you always wanted to,” Rivolta says. 

“Living a creative, poetic life,” Rivolta says, “makes you more fully experience the beauty of living, especially in later years. I’ve always had that and didn’t want to stop. People used to tell me I worked too much, but in reality I felt like I never worked because I enjoyed each of my jobs so much. That’s a great part about doing things that combine creativity and adventure.”


About Piero Rivolta
Piero Rivolta (www.pierorivolta.com), an award-winning poet and author, grew up in Milan, Italy in a family of automakers. He has made a career of successful reinvention based on creativity and passion for enhanced living. The leader of a successful car manufacturing company, he left Italy and moved to Sarasota, Fla., in 1980 with his wife Rachele, a painter. Rivolta has also been a residential and commercial builder, high-seas sailor and yacht producer. He recently published Bridge Through the Stars, his first novel since the publication of Journey Beyond 2012 and his Sarasota trilogy: Sunset in Sarasota, Alex and the Color of the Wind and The Castaway. Rivolta is also the author of four poetry/prose collections: Just One Scent: The Rest Is God, Nothing Is Without Future, Going By Sea and One Life, Many Lives.

Five Self-Help Tools to Use if You Are Depressed

Photo by João Ferreira on Unsplash

I personally know the struggle and challenge of depression. Deep depression was the catalyst that brought me to apply, study, and then practice Energy Healing when I was a young mother of 28. I had 4 small children at the time and I was in a deep, dark place. Not a good place to be when you have 4 bright-eyed, beautiful kids needing you each day.

I started looking for more natural methods of healing. I am grateful that I have successfully healed my depression. Here are 5 of the top self-help tools that helped me and I hope they help you if this is your challenge, or that you will share them with someone that you know that is challenged with depression.

1. Stop your negative thoughts. If you have a problem stopping obsessive thinking, get an eye patch and patch your right eye. Patching your right eye will shut down the left hemisphere of your brain and the negative, obsessive thinking. It is better than a glass of wine!

2. Zip-up your central meridian. Your central meridian is the energy pathway that runs from your pubic bone to your bottom lip. It can act like a radio receiver if it is not zipped up, picking up negative energies and vibes of others around you. Zip it up by imagining zipping up a zipper that runs up this pathway.

3. Go for a vigorous walk everyday. Walking will increase your endorphins, which lifts your mood. Walking also activates your energy flows to cross from left to right, right to left. A healthy crossover flow of energy lifts your mood 40-60%

4. Refer to your depression as an experience that you are having that can be healed, rather than an identity you are stuck in. Stop saying, “I am depressed or I am suffering from depression.” Your “I am’s” define your identity and keep you stuck with more of what you don’t want. A healthier way of referring to your experience of depression is to say: “I am experiencing the condition of depression, and it is healing.”

5. Believe you can get well. Your belief creates your reality. If you doubt and fear you may never get well — you may not. If you believe you can and will you call it forth in your life. Consider the possibility that one of the higher purposes of your depression was to allow you the experience of healing it to graduate you into more of your true magnificence.

Anytime we overcome life experiences that felt like they had the power to even destroy us, we claim mighty powers of our true selves and have great abilities to touch the lives of others as a result. Believe in yourself, believe in your healing, and believe you have a great contribution to make as a result.



Carol Tuttle is a teacher, speaker, gifted healer, best-selling author of six books, and pioneer in the field of personal development. For over 25 years, she has supported millions worldwide with her life-changing books and online courses. Her newest book, Mastering Affluence, guides you through six transformative lessons to create a life you love. Get your copy and learn more at www.caroltuttle.com.

Beginnings .... #MermaidMonday

.... by vvola
Welcome to the first #mermaidmonday of the Fall! That's right we are officially in the season of autumn, meaning my favorite season. I love everything about this season, the air, the clothes, the colors, the lighting. And of course the coming of Halloween!

What do you love about Fall?

Laid Back #MermaidMonday

.... by vvola
So this was a very laid back weekend, I have a sinus infection, which sucks. But antibiotics rock so that's good. What did you guys do this weekend?

Parenting Kids on the Spectrum



There is always magic to be found in a child, and children on the autism spectrum have a very special type of magic. With their laser-beam focus, ability to locate the most beautiful non sequitur in every moment, and their creative (and very often gifted) mind, the magic of parenting a child with autism is available every day.

As parents of children with autism, sometimes we get so focused on the intense job of trying to help our children be functional, that this formula for magical moments eludes us. Our hyper-focus on helping our child survive in the world drowns out our enjoyment of the delights and pleasures of our children’s unique, and often fun, view of the world.

Yes, raising a child with autism is serious business, parenting on steroids even, but there is always power in appreciating the gifts of our children. Parents of children on the autism spectrum often feel exhausted from the constant stress, overwhelmed and worried about the future, and don’t feel the freedom to experience the lighter side. Autism is part of our children, but it doesn’t define them any more than being left-handed, red-headed, or blue-eyed. Each child has a unique personality, talents, and gifts which come in a bundle with some challenges. When we spend equal focus appreciating the positives, it can give us much needed relief from the business of trying to cajole our children into “normalcy.”

Focusing on the positives has the added bonus of bringing us closer to our children and helping them to recognize their strengths, too. My son can be so creative and he has a great sense of humor. I love to hear him laugh – it’s therapeutic for both of us when he laughs. We play a silly game when we are driving in the car that we call the “name game” where we adjust the names and definitions of things. For example, an airplane that is covered in fur would be a “hairplane,” and an airplane dressed up for Halloween would be a “scareplane.” An airplane that likes to take risks would be a “dareplane.” A ghost that likes to look in a mirror would be a “reflecto-plasm,” which is a name game alternative for ectoplasm. You get the idea. We have had so much fun with this game over the years!

Sharing these lighter moments helps to balance out the more complicated aspects of raising a child with autism. When I know that my son will need some support to comply with a request that he does not like, I use the C.A.L.M Method, which is a 4-step process to supporting children with autism. “C” stands for “check your own emotions.” We need to be calm and in control of ourselves, because our kids cue off of us. “A” stands for “assess the child’s sensory needs.” When children with autism are neurologically calm, they have more neurological bandwidth available for processing the world, which increases the likelihood that the child will be able to comply with a request that they find difficult (which could be as small as brushing your teeth on the morning). The “L” stands for “using linear language.” Abstract concepts are often confusing to those with autism, so speaking in specific, clear, linear terms, such as using a list, can really aid the understanding of what is being asked. The “M” stands for motivation, which is a challenge for many individuals on the spectrum. People with autism are motivated differently than the rest of us. Instead of responding to intrinsic, social motivation such as “this is the way everyone else is doing it,” we need to provide explicit extrinsic motivators, like chicken nuggets from McDonald’s. God bless McDonald’s for their chicken nuggets, they support so many of us by motivating our children on the autism spectrum. It always feels good to appreciate the little things!




ABOUT JEANNE BEARD:
Jeanne Beard, founder of the National Autism Academy and author of “Autism & The Rest Of Us”, has decades of experience in the trenches with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders, and the people diagnosed with them. In addition to her essential life experience creating functional, nurturing, and balanced relationships with those on the spectrum, Jeanne was mentored by clinical expert Timothy Wahlberg, PhD during the writing of his clinical guide “Finding the Gray: Understanding and Thriving in the Black and White World of Autism and Asperger’s.” Through her incredible insight into the thoughts, experiences, and challenges of those on the spectrum AND of the rest of us, Jeanne builds a bridge to hope and a better future for us all.

For more information, support, and parent training, visit: www.nationalautismacademy.com

How To Keep Exercising Despite Chronic Pain

Pain is a great excuse if you don’t like to exercise, and it’s certainly something many people with chronic pain would just as soon avoid.

Photo by lucas clarysse on Unsplash


Yet at the same time exercise is one of the things that can help make that pain go away.

“It can become a Catch-22 situation,” says Dr. Victor M. Romano, a board certified orthopaedic surgeon and author of Finding The Source: Maximizing Your Results – With and Without Orthopaedic Surgery (www.romanomd.com). “We don’t want to exercise because we have pain, and yet exercise will usually help you reduce the pain over the long run.

Research has shown that exercise is an essential aspect in the treatment of chronic pain. Lack of exercise can cause a downward cycle of deconditioning and worsening pain. But exercise can help those with chronic pain engage in enjoyable and essential activities of daily living with greater ease. Cardio exercise, interval training, and weight lifting are the three types of exercise most people should include once a week in their workouts. Stretching should be included in every workout, Romano says.

Doctors generally ask patients to rate their pain on a scale of one to 10. The average intensity of pain experienced for 12 or more hours over a 24-hour period is considered their baseline pain. Romano says if, during exercise, pain levels increase by more than 2 points from the baseline you should stop and modify that exercise to ensure you do not cause a flare up of your pain. Of course, a good diet is also important.

Furthermore, obstructed breathing, from a deviated septum, allergies or a cold, will impair your balance and strength. Restoring clear nasal breathing will improve your performance.

For people who suffer from chronic pain, Dr. Romano offers these exercise tips:

  • Try shorter exercise periods. Interval training is very helpful in patients with chronic pain. Short bursts of exercise can be more beneficial and less stressful than one long workout. Even five minutes is better than nothing. Everything counts. 
  • Weight training is also important for seniors and women to strengthen bones. Research has proven that weight training is good for everyone, regardless of sex or age. Make sure to incorporate it into your exercise program. 
  • Stretching is important. Go to Facebook, download our Romano Stretches, and incorporate them into your daily routine, even if you don’t exercise that day. 
  • Try yoga or tai chi. These programs have shown success with people with chronic pain. 
  • Clear your sinuses. If your breathing is obstructed, use nasal sprays or get nasal strips that will open your breathing and further improve your strength and balance. 
  • Mind over matter. If you need to do an exercise that you know is going to be painful, start by taking some deep breaths and focus your energy. Take your time. 

“Even though exercise for somebody with chronic pain sounds counterintuitive,” Romano says, “it is very important as part of recovery therapy.”

About Dr. Victor Romano

Dr. Victor Romano (www.romanomd.com) is an orthopedic surgeon and the author of Finding The Source: Maximizing Your Results – With and Without Orthopaedic Surgery. He is board-certified in orthopedics and sports medicine with over 25 years of experience in the field. He graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and completed medical school at the University of Loyola-Chicago.





Tips for Discussing and Defusing Bullying Situations

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

According to Stopbullying.gov, 49% of children in grades 4 to 12 reported being bullied by other students at school. Most bullying takes place when parents aren’t there to watch their children like at school or on the school bus, which is why it’s critical to inform your child on how to defuse situations with bullies and protect themselves.

Below are some tips from Krav Maga Worldwide, a global leader in personal defense, on how to teach children to safely deal with bullies.


  • It starts at home. It’s important to teach children while they are young about respect and treating others how they would want to be treated. There are a lot of different personalities, style choices and backgrounds that children will be exposed to when they start school and it can be easy for them to laugh at something they aren’t use to. 


  • Have open conversations. Have nightly discussions with your child about their day and if anything is happening that is making them feel uncomfortable. Keeping the communication open lets them know that it’s okay to speak up if something does happen. 


  • Speak up. Kid are often taught not to tattle on someone, but bullying is never okay. Talk to your child about the importance of speaking up and doing the right thing if they notice someone being bullied or they are being bullied themselves. Instruct them to tell a trusted teacher or school worker about what they witnessed.


  • Be the bigger person. Most of the time bullies just want to get a reaction out of the person they are tormenting. Teach your child to walk away from situations that can easily escalate. 


  • Basic skills. Sign your child up for intro self-defense classes specifically for kids and dealing with situations that can arise for their age group. These classes often teach children body language and verbal skills that can help deter bullies as well physical skills. Unfortunately there is a very real possibility that a child may be in a situation that they can’t defuse or walk away from. Having a foundation of physical skills is vital for the child to be able to protect themselves when push literally comes to shove.  


For more information check out www.kravmaga.com see the Facebook page (Krav Maga Worldwide), follow on Instagram @krav_maga_worldwide or call 800.572.8624.

10 Best Tweets of This Week About Mermaid

Mermaid by luxwar

We all know I love mermaids, it's not a secret, but other people love them too. To prove it I'm rounding up 10 of the best mermaid tweets. If I missed some let me know in the comments!