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Be happy, always

November 9th, 2014 · Comments Off

Be happyMoney can’t buy happiness and there is a good reason for that—it’s free! Access to this abundantly available commodity is easily gained by making a conscience choice to find joy every day, regardless of the day. Joy is not contingent upon the world living up to our expectations. If that was the case, we would be sentenced to a life of disappointment that granted only fleeting moments of happiness, and we were designed for a far greater experience. However, achieving a rich and joyful life is up to us. We must be able to see the beauty and promise in life even when we are living through disappointment and struggle. By remembering that if we did not face challenges, but rather lived in a constant state of bliss that allowed us to fall into complacency, the beauty and promise of life would not be deeply appreciated.

To experience happiness, we must accept that the volume to which we feel happy moves up and down but is never muted. When the volume of our happiness is down, we must challenge ourselves to find something positive to focus on such as the exquisiteness found in nature, our children or the love of a friend or pet. There is also always a reason to be grateful regardless of the size of a challenge. This is a great time to count your blessings. By making an effort to think positively, you demonstrate that happiness cannot be muted and that a positive demeanor will see you through your challenge in such a way that you are able to cheerfully embrace a new and better day. If, however, we elect to become mired down in feelings of despair and anger, we will have muted our happiness and be left vulnerable to not experiencing a joyful life. For this mentality becomes habitual and can severely block our ability to see the omnipresent beauty and promise of life.

As we develop ourselves as a life force for positivity, which secures our happiness, we will find that we attract positive people and circumstances to ourselves and, thereby, build the joyful life we have been promised. With a positive attitude as our guiding mantra, we must protect ourselves from negativity. Negativity is a strong force that can lead us away from access to our happiness. While it is impossible to completely escape negativity, we can look to it as a test of our commitment to remain positive and mitigate its impact on our lives by not taking the bait when misery comes looking for company. Instead say a prayer for those who wish to poison your happy state of mind with their discontent. By doing so, you will have twice blessed yourself. Once by not falling prey to their negativity and claiming your right to be happy and twice by taking the step of helping a negative soul become a positive one.

There can be no greater example of our divine right and ability to achieve happiness than when we learn of the extraordinary challenges someone has been faced with and, in spite of it all, is a positive, happy person. In fact, if you did not know their story, it would appear as if they have lived a life of ease and endless good fortune. They know better than most that there is no advantage to going through life in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. They have mastered the ability to remain positive, embrace the beauty and wonder of this life in all its shapes and sizes and to keep a grateful heart for their many blessings. Their life is a gift to those they meet, a living inspiration and example that a happy life is achievable by maintaining a positive attitude and remembering that life is beautiful and to be celebrated, always.

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Worry no more

October 6th, 2014 · Comments Off

CalmWorry can be described as a wolf in sheep’s clothing for it is disguised as an expression of our love and concern when in reality it is a stealth thief of our joy, peace and truth. When we worry about our loved ones, ourselves or a situation, we do not affect the result. We just allow our imagination to anticipate a negative scenario that usually never comes to pass and robs us of our joy, peace and truth. Yet we have come to believe that if we truly care about a person or a situation, we must worry while never giving consideration to its useless and destructive nature.

This idea is particularly intriguing given that we are never thrilled to be in receipt of the trouble we inherit yet we are willing to borrow trouble by worrying. We may be inclined to worry because when troubles arise, we feel a loss of control and the feeling of helplessness associated with that can cause us to anticipate the worst. Sometimes worry is born out of impatience. When things are not moving as quickly as we like or in a manner that allows us to be comfortable, we conclude that things are not going to work out and we begin spending precious time having a defeatist attitude. Maybe we create worry when we allow ourselves to be more consumed with not meeting the presumed expectations of others rather than the merits of our individual journey. These negative thoughts are merely conjecture. The certainty is that in God’s due time all works out for our benefit. By remaining confident in this belief, we can save ourselves needless anguish and move through our challenges with joy and peace.

When feelings of impatience drive your state of mind, remember what is true–only time will tell how circumstances will turn out and that all delays are necessary to bring about the best outcome. All the worrying and hand wringing in the world will not move the universe before it is time. In the meantime, do not allow yourself to be so overwhelmed by your impatience that you miss the beauty in each day. Recognize discomfort as the turning point in a situation. The hardest work is done before the greatest breakthrough. Keep reminding yourself that anything worth having is worth working hard for and remain in faith expecting the best because that is what God wants for you. Don’t do yourself the disservice of comparing yourself to anyone else. The truth is that you do not know what others think or believe and, more importantly, it does not matter. Your journey is between you and God not you and others.

Our innate defense system wants to be as prepared as possible for any and all outcomes, thereby driving the need to worry. The truth is we can never be prepared, and we are not expected to design all the answers. Instead, our journey’s challenges are about providing us with opportunities to strengthen our faith that all will be well.

The next time you feel the need to worry pray. Prayer will allow you to unburden yourself by turning your worries over to God. Through regular practice, you will learn to trust that God always delivers the best possible solution, designed exclusively for you and your loved ones. It may look very different than you imagined and it may not arrive on your time table but as your faith grows and worries lessen, you will find happiness, peace and the truth that not only will all be well but that all is well.

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Speak kindly to yourself about yourself

September 8th, 2014 · Comments Off

Self loveHuman behavior is a marvel. On one hand, we have the ability to happily help those in need, forgive those that hurt us, joyfully encourage others to follow their dreams and can easily see the best in those around us. We genuinely believe that others have the power to be successful, overcome challenges and lead fulfilling lives. It gives us great pleasure to be of use to our fellow man and speak positive messages designed to help them. On the other hand, our “inside voice,” those conversations we have with ourselves, don’t always seem to mirror the conversations we are able to easily have with others. We can be very harsh, critical, unforgiving and unable to see in ourselves what others do. While our “outside voice” comes naturally and happily, we sometimes need to remind ourselves to extend the same love and compassion we have for others to ourselves.

There may be many reasons why it is so hard for us to speak as gently to ourselves as we do to others. Perhaps it is a belief that it is conceited to say positive things about yourself to yourself. Perhaps it is a belief that it is selfish to focus on yourself with the same zeal we have when helping others. Perhaps responsibilities limit the time for our interests and we feel guilty when we use any time for ourselves. Perhaps we don’t feel worthy of forgiveness or success. When we look closely at these internal conversations, it becomes clear that they are all negative messages that do not serve us and are messages we would never share with others, yet we feel free to say them to ourselves.

To turn this negative inner voice off, remember that we do not set out to create conceit when we praise the talents of others; if we don’t help ourselves to grow, we will cease to be able to add value and by not making ourselves a priority we become worn out, unhappy and unable to be a light to others. As for forgiveness, let us remember that forgiveness is given to those who seek it. When you ask for it, it is granted; so take the lesson and leave the guilt. As for success, we were divinely created to be successful so please drop that notion from your mindset and speak heaps of success into yourself.

When encouraging others, we have the advantage of not living the challenge day in and day out. We easily see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is obvious to us that all can and will be well. However, when we are journeying on a dimly lit road, we sometimes can only see what is in front of us. When the challenge becomes consuming, it can cause us to have negative conversations, which are not only useless, they make the situation worse. Perhaps, the best way to help ourselves is to ask what we would say to a loved one faced with the same circumstances and start speaking that positive message into our head and heart.

Being kind to ourselves and speaking softly is not always natural but with practice it becomes easier. By habitually being patient and loving ourselves in small ways each day, we are able to become all that we dream and triumph over our challenges. Remind yourself of your talents and strengths. Be patient when things don’t go well. Remember how far you have come, that your best days are always ahead of you and most of all pray for yourself. God greatly appreciates your prayers for his children but don’t forget you are his child too and are loved by God just as much. God wants to hear from you, so take the time to speak with him about what is on your mind and don’t be afraid to get angry if that is how you feel. God can take it and understands. By opening up a conversation with God, he will help move you past your anger and surprise you with new joys because when God closes a door, he always opens a window. And your new blessings, thanks to your positive inner conversations, will allow you to be a blessing to others. Nothing could give God or you greater joy.

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Celebrate the beauty and gifts of your individuality

August 5th, 2014 · Comments Off

individualityCan you imagine what a boring world we would live in if everyone was the same? Life would be filled with an overabundance of scientists or musicians or athletes. Who would create the beautiful frescos, or protect our communities or cook the exotic foods we have come to love? How would we ever learn, grow and experience joy if we all had the same abilities, personalities and experiences? Each day would be so very uninspiring. There would be no awe for the talents of others, no need for mentors to inspire us and personal development would not be necessary to learn what career or life best suits our individual personalities. The satisfaction and reward for triumphantly adapting to one of life’s unexpected little surprises would cease to exist. Yet, in spite of the beauty of our individual diversity, it seems, we cannot help ourselves at times from thinking that the grass is greener on the other side.

The funny thing about this idea is that you can never know just by looking what went into making that lawn so green. Maybe the owner has a natural gift. Maybe you missed the years of practice with different fertilizers, cutting lengths, watering systems and fall preparation before the owner stumbled upon the recipe for success or maybe you are admiring artificial turf. The reality is that you cannot compare yourself to another because you were intentionally designed with your own unique gifts, experiences and desires, which cannot be discounted simply because you do not measure up to the accomplishments of another. The desire to make comparisons is always heightened during periods of change, stress and challenge. During these times, it is very easy to glance at the perception of another’s life and say, “they have it made” or “they get all the breaks,” when in fact you don’t know that to be the case. This is frustration speaking and providing you with a signal to take a breath, count your blessings, acknowledge the beauty of your gifts and that now is the time to leverage your experience to see you through a difficult period because this too shall pass and you will be an improved person for having had this experience.

When you are inclined to perceive that someone is smarter, better looking, happier, wealthier, remember that you have talents that those you are envying admire about you. God architected each person to make a contribution to the world as well as with opportunities for personal growth and development. There is no perfect person or perfect life. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Our strengths inspire others and our weaknesses help us become a better person.

We need our individual diversity to help each other and ourselves. We cannot grow or be an inspiration to others if we diminish our talents by standing in the false shadow of another. The very gifts you possess add to the beauty of your life and the life of those around you. Collectively, we create a world that is exciting, interesting and full of opportunities. There will be times when someone is up and someone is down. It is all part of the yin and yang of life, which has been thoughtfully constructed by our Creator to provide us with opportunities to become successful and avail ourselves to the talents of others for encouragement. Don’t waste precious time feeling less than. Celebrate your gifts, your quirks, your shortcomings, your challenges and your victories. You are a critical part of creating a better world because someone is learning from you and you are learning from someone else, which is why we are all here.

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Faith–the catalyst for victory

July 8th, 2014 · Comments Off

Faith 2014Faith is not for the faint of heart. Faith is for those that freely choose to trust God, who sees what we cannot, that all will be well. Faith is accepting that you have no control and being unafraid because fear is a useless emotion when one is designed for success. Faith understands that the outcome to a challenge may not be what you expected but is the perfect outcome for you. Faith recognizes that sometimes we are part of a difficult period not just for our own growth but for what we bring to others sharing our burden. Those with faith understand that through challenge a lesson is learned, character is strengthened, confidence is built–all in an effort to equip you with the grace, tools and experience necessary to rise higher. Faith reminds the essence of your soul that your journey is not one of failure and suffering but one of success, peace and joy, for this too shall pass. When the season of struggle comes to its natural end, a new season of prosperity is ushered in. This new period brings with it greater joy than you have known in the past because faith is the catalyst for heightened gratitude and gratitude is where joy is born.

Having faith does not mean that you will never waiver in your confidence that all will be well. It does not mean that you won’t get angry, feel cheated, feel as if you are being treated unfairly or become weary from an extend period of challenge. Faith is a grace that steps in despite these feelings and reminds you to breathe and trust that all will be well.

The power of faith, however, requires practice. It is a spiritual muscle that needs to be exercised daily to grow in strength. Some days faith will come easily and other days you will have to work very hard to feel its peace. On those harder days, ask yourself, “What is the alternative to having faith?” You may find that as you contemplate that question that without faith one would become ground up and feel as if there is no meaning to our struggles. One could begin to believe that there is no point to fulfilling their gifts because there are too many obstacles to overcome. One may even ask what the point is at all and fall into a bitter pit of despair. As hard as faith may be, it is far better to put effort and emotion into believing that our struggles do have meaning, that our gifts are worth working hard to share and that life is full of opportunity for victories made only sweeter by our efforts, sacrifices and setbacks.

When you have done all you can do and circumstances are out of your control, or when despite the best evidence; you believe that a way can be made where you do not see one, allow faith to take over. It begins to work when you speak optimistically over your life, especially during your darkest days. God hears your prayers, sees your actions and helps those that help themselves. Things may not turn out as you expected or when you wished but remember that God has our best interests at heart. Trust that there is a bigger picture that we are not privy to and that the pieces of our life’s puzzle fall into place for our highest good in God’s due time, which is at exactly the right moment.

Certain challenges will be far more painful than others, but take heart, remain in faith and keep repeating the mantra, “my best days are ahead of me.” With that belief ever present in your mind, you will more easily move through life’s challenges.

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God Bless Fathers

June 3rd, 2014 · Comments Off

Father's Day 2014Thank God for the men in our lives who lovingly and happily serve as a father. For they have accepted the awesome responsibility of ensuring the safety, health, well-being and future of their family. They are tireless warriors who protect their families, provide basic needs, the extras that make life sweeter and are examples of the kind of men boys will grow to become and the model women will use to measure the character of men. As a result of their unwavering devotion, they become the bedrock of their family, who is able flourish thanks to the security they provide.

Those that have been fortunate enough to have had a father, brother, uncle, grandfather, step-father or family friend who placed his family at the center of his life know their future was made possible due to the contributions of a man committed to providing his family with a strong foundation. Strong foundations are built by men who lead by example. We do our best learning when we draw our own conclusions through observation rather than through sermons. Fathers know that life is not fair and that how they navigate challenges and rise to the occasion will show their children that they come from good stock and will be just fine when it comes time for them to face their own obstacles. When those times come, children, young and of adult age, draw comfort from knowing that they can go home for advice, help and a place to recharge so they can go back out and overcome their trials. Fathers know actions speak louder than words. Ever observant children learn how to respect themselves and others as they watch how their father treats their mother, the elderly or someone in need. Children learn the importance of sacrifice as they watch their father place the needs of those he loves above his own and the reward he receives in the form of love and appreciation. The responsibility of fatherhood serves as a great reminder that children need to be held accountable for their behavior and decisions. Therefore, fathers have no reluctance when it comes time to call out bad behavior and hold their children responsible for making amends. They are also the proudest people on planet earth when their children meet with success, overcome an obstacle, achieve a milestone or simply behave in a respectful way. They have been known to tap the shoulder of the stranger sitting next to them and say with a puffed out chest , “that’s my child.”

Men with the capacity to be a good father genuinely want to see children outside their family do well too. One of the many extraordinary characteristics of these men is their willingness to not only serve their family but to serve as a surrogate to others, many times without even being aware of their surrogacy. Their genuine nature and living example attract the attention of others. Their children’s friends will come by for a visit and stay for dinner because they enjoy being in the company of someone who wishes them well, listens to them and willingly shares the benefit of his experience. The value of his contribution will likely remain unbeknownst to him until his children’s friends grow up and come back to visit and share news about their lives and relive fond memories of time spent with him growing up. It may only be then that he is aware of the part he played in helping them become who they are today.

Good fathers represent the highest caliber of men and no words could adequately illustrate the positive impact they have on their children and those in their community. Their unselfish dedication, example and love leave an indelible imprint on the souls of their children, and long after they have crossed over into the next life, their children will still be drawing on their memory for strength, confidence and the warmth of their love.

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A mother’s love is a love like no other

May 5th, 2014 · Comments Off

Flowers 5 2014A scared child looks for security in a loving and steady hand to hold. A heartbroken teen looks for warm arms to wrap themselves in as a reminder that they are still loved. An adult faced with the pressures and uncertainties of life looks for comfort in wise, loving eyes and the warmth of a heart that cares and understands. These selfless gifts are joyfully given throughout our life by those that watch us grow, help us learn, enjoy our victories and suffered with us our defeats. They encourage us to be our best and believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. We are nourished by the knowledge that we are never far from their thoughts and prayers. We take tremendous comfort knowing that they so desperately want the very best for us. These earthly angels who help shape us, teach us, heal us, comfort us and celebrate with us are those that mother us.

Mothers come into our life in a variety of ways. Some have given birth to us, others have adopted us into their heart and home, some are our sisters or grandmothers or aunties or neighbors or friends. The origin of the relationship is really inconsequential because all that matters is that they have made a commitment to provide a deep, sincere and genuine love for another that is like no other love in a person’s life.

For it takes a special love to willingly make the necessary sacrifices to ensure a child grows into a loving, happy adult. A mother will put her life on hold to meet the physical and emotional demands of raising a baby and toddler. When the day comes and her child heads off to school, she will be there to help manage the ups and downs that come from influences outside the home. When adolescence arrives, she will buckle up for the wild ride her children will take her on as she suddenly becomes the least knowledgeable and most out-of-touch person her children have ever met. There will be days when tough love will be necessary to remind know-it-all children that she has already been where they are and they have yet to get where she is in life. Even as these children act as if their mother is the obstacle to their happiness and will test her at every turn, she will be their safe haven when their peers are cruel by reminding them to consider the source and when a child gets too full of themselves she will have no compunction about telling them that self-praise stinks. As adolescence turns into adulthood, her work is not done. The complexion of the relationship changes from parent to friend but the love never changes. No matter how old you may be, no matter how successful you become, you will always be your mother’s child and she will always be there to help you and love you unconditionally.

Those that have lost their mother know what a tremendous hole that loss leaves because unfortunately we never truly understand the depth of a mother’s love until she is buried beneath the sod. However, the time spent and the love shared between mother and child secures her immortality in her child’s heart. Death cannot take her examples, lessons and love away. As her child goes forward, her presence will be felt as she lovingly guides from the other side.

Our mothers are our safety net, back-bone, morality, compassion, and the purest expression of love. The thanks we give to them, living or deceased, is the life we live and the love we give to others. Nothing could make a mother happier or prouder.

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Spring would not be so sweet if not for winter and so it goes in life too

April 1st, 2014 · Comments Off

 

spring 2014After a long and arduous winter, finally, spring has arrived! With the promise of warmer weather, the budding of flowers and a return of happily chirping birds, we look forward to long sunny days and an overall easier way of living. Winter coats, boots, hats and gloves are no longer necessary just to step outside. No more concern for icy roads and walkways. No more back-breaking snow shoveling chores and no more bone-chilling mornings that turn into short days, as night arrives early forcing temperatures even lower.

It is a wonder that once the bad weather departs and the more inviting weather arrives, we are able to easily transition from one season to the next. We are unencumbered by the change and indeed welcome it. We begin to forget the daily challenges of living through an unyielding winter season and simply bask in the gifts of spring.

As we go about our springtime business, it never occurs to us to detract from spring’s pleasures by reliving the challenges of winter. When sitting on the grass in our bare feet on a warm evening, we don’t remain focused on a time passed when we were stuck inside looking out at a cold, dark night unwilling to leave the comfort of our warm home because road conditions were dangerous and it was too cold outside. We let that season go and simply enjoy the new season. We remain present in the moment as we sit on the grass in our bare feet, feeling a warm breeze on our face and looking up at the stars, showing gratitude for the new season by not looking back at what was and not looking ahead to what might be but simply being present.

Winter, and particularly a bad winter, provides an opportunity to draw on our inner reserves of faith that the season will come to an end and a new and enjoyable season will greet us; confidence in our ability to meet its challenges; and gratitude for the lessons winter teaches and the riches of a new season. Spring would never be so lovely and so welcome if not for winter. The same beauty can be found in the seasons of our lives. It is true that into each life a little rain must fall and sometimes when it rains, it pours, but the sun always comes out again. It is our soul’s purpose to truly enjoy the beauty of life, which could not be fully appreciated if we did not experience opportunities disguised as challenges to grow, see with clearer eyes our many blessings, and welcome new blessings to further enrich our lives.

Therefore, when a challenging season in your life comes to an end, treat it the same way you would a bad winter—learn from it, be proud of how you persevered, make peace with it, release it, welcome with an open heart the change of season, and be present in your new and more enjoyable season. You have earned this new season’s peace and blessings. Don’t prolong the challenging season and diminish the blessings of your “spring” by carrying over the hardships and heartaches of the past season. As you remember to not look back, also remember not to jump ahead to summer and fall and begin worrying now that winter will have to return. It is but one season in four. Enjoy the beauty and wonder of each season in your life for they have helped to develop the person you are today by providing you with lessons and blessings. Remember as you go through all your seasons that life is sweet, no matter what—because your best days are always ahead of you.

 

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Why the Irish are lucky and how you can be too

March 6th, 2014 · Comments Off

 

St. Pat 2014It has been said that if you are lucky enough to be Irish, you are lucky enough. If that statement was taken at face-value, one may be inclined to think that simply being of Irish descent means a life blessed with lucky breaks and doors opening to one great opportunity after another. However, when you consider Irish history, that statement becomes a paradox. For centuries the Irish battled against a British government that was determined to persecute them in the most dehumanizing manner in an effort to colonize Ireland. During this extensive period, the Irish seemed to be fighting a losing battle. They would gain some ground only to lose it again. Much blood was shed and many families were destroyed before they were able to finally gain their independence. Given those events, it is staggering to understand how the Irish could be considered lucky people. Even more mind-boggling is that through all the tragedy, the Irish, to this very day, have remained a joyful, faithful, grateful people. It would seem that the truth in the paradox is that the Irish made their own luck. They did not let their enemies defeat them, and more importantly, they never allowed their oppressors to conquer their spirit. By remaining positive, they were able to not only overcome their challenges but went on to become well-loved the world over and admired for the many contributions they have made to their families and communities.

The Irish are a living example we can look to when faced with adversity. Their journey is a reminder that the strength of your soul is not equal to but greater than any challenge you may face. Obstacles are not designed to hold back success and happiness but rather are an opportunity to grow into a more self-confident, compassionate person blessed with gratitude for what you have and what will be. Those that are blessed with this knowledge are light souls for they do not carry the useless weight of worry and desperation. They see a glass as half full rather than half empty and can always find a way to smile and laugh because they know that this too shall pass and want to be ready to welcome in their best days, which are always ahead of them. The power of light souls extends beyond securing their own personal growth and happiness. They have the ability to project their wisdom through example to those in their circle. By surrounding yourself with lights souls, the collective power of that wisdom and their joyful, knowing, peaceful spirit allows you to more easily navigate life’s challenges and curve balls. Having a circle of light souls protects against getting mired down by feelings of worry and desperation. The more time spent placing faith in your ability to learn, grow and come out the other side better than when you began, the more you begin to understand how very useless feelings of worry and desperation are because they change nothing and only needlessly extend suffering.

If you are lucky to be a positive thinking person, you are lucky enough. You like the Irish know that you have it in your power to make your own luck by remaining optimistic and staying focused on the opportunities rather than the loss. Take their proven example and build a community of people around you who don’t let life get the better of them but rather make the best of their life and you too will have the luck of the Irish.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

 

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2014 Meet the Author Events

February 6th, 2014 · Comments Off

 

Irish Leprechun

I am pleased to announce that I will be at the following “Meet the Author” events where I will be speaking and signing my book. I look forward to seeing you there!

 

March 2
12:30 p.m.
Paperback Exchange
Meet the Author Event during Belmar’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festivities
703 1/2 9th Ave, Belmar, NJ 07719
(732) 681-6829
www.Apaperbackexchange.com

March 11
Writestream Online Radio by Dariaanne
Radio interview with Daria DiGiovanni celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and the wisdom of the Irish
Stay tuned for more details

March 23
2:00 p.m.
Sayreville Public Library
Educational session focused on how to become a published author
1050 Washington Road
Parlin, NJ 08859
732-727-0212

May 3
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Ocean Grove NJ Spring Fling
Comfort Zone
Book Signing
44 1/2 Main Avenue
Ocean Grove, NJ 07756
732-869-9990
www.comfortzone-og.com

August 19 (rain date August 20)
Author Night at TD Bank Ballpark
Somerset Patriots vs Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
Books signing at 6:00 p.m.
Game starts at 7:05 p.m.
860 E Main Street
Bridgewater, NJ 08807

August 25-29
Deerfield Spa
Daily Gathering to Share the Power of Wisdom
650 Resica Falls Road
East Stroudsburg, PA 18302
800-852-4494
www.deerfieldspa.com

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