Judy’s Comments

Peace on Earth...Good Will to All

Peace on Earth...Good Will to All

Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings - Health and Happiness to you.

Our New Year's Resolution: Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Helpful to Others. Thank you for being our friend. 

Judy Chapman, Founder/Garden State Woman Education Foundation

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Gender Equality...what does that mean?

Gender Equality...what does that mean?

Gender Equality means equal access to all opportunities without bias because of gender.

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Chester sisters deployed with U.S. Navy during holiday season

Chester sisters deployed with U.S. Navy during holiday season

ARABIAN SEA (NNS) -- This holiday season the Asdal family celebrated Christmas in the states without three of five siblings. 

The three Asdal sisters who missed Christmas dinner at home in New Jersey are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, the region connecting the Mediterranean and Pacific through the western Indian Ocean.

Lt. Cmdr. Ashley Asdal O’Keefe, the USS Lassen (DDG 82) combat systems officer, Lt. Lindsey Asdal Beates, the future operations officer for Combined Task Force 57, and Lt. j.g. Charlotte Asdal, the USS Farragut (DDG 99) gunnery officer, are all celebrating the holidays thousands of miles from home, but quite close to each other. By pure happenstance, the three sisters, who serve at three different Navy commands stateside and abroad, spent the holidays supporting the nation while deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet and the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command area of responsibility. While O’Keefe was underway, embarked on USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) for Christmas, her two other sisters in U.S. 5th Fleet celebrated Christmas day together on liberty in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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Moving Forward After Divorce

Moving Forward After Divorce

Townsend Tomaio and Newmark - Morristown Family Law Firm

Laurie Newmark, an attorney and partner in the Morristown, NJ Family Law Firm, Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, knows the importance of having her clients move forward with their life after a divorce. Laurie says, "An important part of the entire divorce process is that the participants get through the divorce emotionally sound. This requires an honest look at the future. It means that the divorce has been settled in a way that each person gets the outcome that he or she wants." 

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Attorney Laurie Newmark, a partner in the Morristown, NJ Family Law Firm Townsend, Tomaio and Newmark, advises clients that just as with the passing of a loved one, the death of a marriage often requires a grieving period: "Few people get married and expect to be divorced. This can be a very traumatic experience," says Newmark.

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Morristown (NJ) Law Firm Specializes in Family Law Issues

Morristown (NJ) Law Firm Specializes in Family Law Issues

Laurie L. Newmark, attorney, is a partner in the Morristown NJ Family Law Firm, Townsend Tomaio and Newmark (ttnlaw.com). The Firm has a focus on matrimonial law and all legal aspects of the law, which relate to family matters. Among the specialty areas are divorce, mediation, child custody, domestic violence, prenuptials and similar issues.

Laurie Newmark has created a video with valuable information.

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The College Rat Hole

The College Rat Hole

Are You Throwing Good College Money Down a Rat Hole?

We received an email yesterday from a mom whose 24 year old, college educated son cannot find employment.  He claims to want to start his own business but can't seem to come up with a good idea. She was looking for our input.

Her son graduated from a mid tier (at best) regional college with a degree in psychology. His high school grades were not good enough to get him into a business education program.

Now what? He may be stuck for a very long time. In this very tough job market the recent college graduates with the best chances of landing entry level jobs are the ones from the pedigree colleges (Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Dartmouth, you get the idea) or with degrees that are really applicable such as accounting, finance, IT and in other similarly core knowledge subjects. Even degrees from the Ivies won't necessarily cut it. Witness the glut of unemployed lawyers from the best law schools that are on the bricks.

And how likely is the son to succeed as an entrepreneur when it is his mother calling looking for input and direction?

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Chiropractors Evaluate Children's Backpacks

Association of NJ Chiropractors Once Again Offers Community Program to Evaluate Children's Backpacks

Choosing the right backpack may be one of the most important school supplies a parent can purchase for their child in regards to their health and safety. Is your child's backpack a good fit? The Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), which represents over 1900 doctors of chiropractic statewide, believes that backpack safety is a critical health concern that needs to be addressed.

To help parents choose the right "fit" for their child, the ANJC has once again launched a community service program to guide parents through the process.

If you would like to have your child's backpack evaluated to make sure their backpack is a good fit, please visit the ANJC's public website www.njchiropractors.com to find a chiropractor in your area.

Every September, more than 20 million students go back to school carrying backpacks that are too heavy and pose a serious risk to the wearer's well being. According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), young children today suffer from back pain much earlier than previous generations, and poorly fitted, overly heavy backpacks are key factors. Along with back pain, improper backpack use can result in headaches, poor posture and various other health problems.

In addition to providing the community service program, the ANJC offers these easy-to-follow guidelines to address this issue.

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Bring Back the Mystery

My grandmother Mamie O'Neill was the gatekeeper for preserving the sense of mystery she felt was essential for all young women. Mamie always had a hanky or two tucked away in the pocket of her house dress* at the ready to put between our blossoming breasts if they were even slightly exposed. I can still hear her say, "Cover your separation." I think she thought using the word cleavage was just too risqué.

In her day, showing just a hint of the curve of your ankle was enough to make the young men swoon. A bare calf revealed when the wind caught your skirt would send your suitor over the top. Imagine how easy it was to capture a young man's fancy...good ankles and a well-turned calf.

Recently while shopping for "appropriate clothing" for a young woman in high school, I could picture Mamie passing out hankies by the dozens to all the young ladies in the fitting rooms.

On one of the racks in the store we were trying to shop, I saw garments that were supposed to be skirts; I thought they were a collection of wide belts!

That's when it hit me. Today's fashions for young women have it all wrong...they've stolen the mystery, the special allure of just a hint of the forbidden. The silky fabric that feels so soft to the touch, the sway of a skirt against your leg when you walk. The way fitted clothes hug and enhance the curves of your body. Now that's the mystery that has real appeal!

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The Matinee

It was a beautiful Saturday in June. I had waited all week long for this special day to arrive... I was finally being allowed to walk in to town with my two older sisters, Sandra and Lynne to go to a Matinee at the Rialto Theater, I was thrilled... I had just turned 6 a week before and this was one of my best presents.

I had gotten some new clothes for my birthday and I had taken time to pick out just the right outfit for my big event. I'm sure I had gotten dressed right after breakfast in my new seersucker shorts with a matching blouse. My Mother made a fuss over me wearing my new white summer sandals aka "church shoes" just to go to the movies, but I had prevailed...

My sisters were taking way too long getting ready ...I didn't pester them too much because they might decide not to take me at the last minute. Finally, off we went. I wanted to get there on time and not miss a thing. As I was not included in their conversations, I ran on ahead and then waited while they caught up.

I loved going to the movies. Everything about it seemed magical. Having my own ticket to hand the young man at the velvet ropes was a big deal. He looked so official in his uniform with the gold fringe on the epaulets, his hat perched just so, as I placed my ticket into his white gloved hands...too wonderful! I couldn't get to the candy counter fast enough, but since I was little, I could worm my way right up to the glass and get a really good look at the display..Nirvana, what to choose??? I had given the candy thing careful thought, and it was still a toss up between Good and Plenty's and the chocolate covered raisins. I went for the raisins.

Even though I had tried to hurry my sisters along on our way into town and tried to make the big candy decision fast, we were too late to find seats where my sisters liked to sit. I ran down the aisle and found three seats together, in a row near the front. I pushed my way around the other people in the row and sat down leaving two empty seats next to me for my sisters. I happily settled into my seat as the Looney Tunes theme song started. I did notice that the seat cushion was scratchy in my bare legs; maybe I should have worn my long pants. I also noticed the man sitting next to me, he had a grown up smell that was familiar, like the cigar smell Uncle Jim had.

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Grief and the Children of 9/11

September 11, 2001 changed America forever. The myriad of ways that change occurred still reverberate in our collective consciousness. All of us were affected in some way. Perhaps the silent victims of this day were the children of the victims of this event. On this day, nearly 3,000 children lost a parent. Most of these young people were an average age of nine years old.* So considerable was this loss of life on 9/11, that there may have been no day on American soil since the Civil War when more children had a parent die.

The losses experienced by the people of this country will not soon be forgotten. 9/11 changed the national perspective on grief. Children and teens that had loved ones die in this event shed a light on the grief that we were all experiencing as a country, and also created a space for recognizing that every day in our country young people have loved ones die in many other ways. The nation learned many lessons about grief in the months following 9/11, and the ways we heal. However, ten years later, we still grapple with the task of supporting our children and neighbors through grief and loss. Research shows that an estimated one in nine Americans will lose a parent before age 20** . The death of a parent remains one of our society's most poorly understood issues.

Consider these preliminary results from a groundbreaking survey among parents of kids who have had a parent die that Good Grief is working on in conjunction with the National Alliance for Grieving Children and the New York Life Foundation:

  • 78% say they think about their deceased spouse/partner every day.
  • 91% say the death of their spouse/partner is the worst thing that has ever happened to them.
  • 77% say it's very hard/hard to know what is "normal" kid behavior vs. what is grief related.
  • 78% agree that there are not enough resources to help kids who have had parents to die; 76% believe there are not enough resources for parents who have had a spouse die.

While the full results will not be released until mid-November, we believe these few data points powerfully articulate just how devastating the early death of a loved one can be – on parent and child alike. Yet, shockingly, little has been reported on the subject of childhood bereavement. There will be lots of commentary leading up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, but you can bet that one of the issues that will not receive its due attention is the impact of having a parent die. The children of 9/11 are now in high school and college, and their parent's legacies can extend far beyond the confines of Ground Zero. We believe 9/11 represents a unique opportunity to focus on this poorly understood issue. At Good Grief, we interact with grieving families – kids and parents alike – every day. As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, we'd love the opportunity to speak with you about the impact of childhood loss and the critical role centers like ours can play in helping grieving families to heal.

To learn more about supporting grieving children please click on the below links:

10 Things Grieving Children Want You to Know
10 Ways to Support Grieving Children

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4 Signs Your Relationship is Failing

A new relationship-whether personal, romantic, or professional-is a lot  like buying a new car. Driving it off the lot is pure bliss. As you look  around, you can scarcely take it all in. Everything smells, sounds, and  looks terrific. You coast through weeks or months-maybe even years-of  happy driving before you're aware of anything that needs fixing. And like  a car, when a relationship breaks down, it's overwhelming; you're left  stuck on the side of the road wondering what went wrong.  A trained eye knows when a car is in trouble. From the sound of the idle to the color of the exhaust exiting the tailpipe, there are telltale signs of distress. The same is true of relationships, and you can be your own mechanic.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse:

The Four Horsemen reveal problems for relationships of all types. They represent the counterproductive acts we can easily fall victim to when our emotions get the better of us. As you read each of the Horsemen and consider its relevance in your relationships, remember that conflict itself is not a problem. Conflict is actually a normal and (ideally) productive part of two people with different needs and interests working together. Research has found that the amount of conflict between two people had no bearing on the success of the relationship. It's how conflict is handled that determines a relationship's success, and the Four Horsemen's presence means conflict is not being dealt with constructively or productively.

Follow the strategies provided for overcoming each of the Four Horseman, and your relationships are bound to be successful!

The 1st Horseman: Criticism
Criticism is not to be confused with delivering feedback or otherwise seeking improvement or change in another person. Criticism becomes, well, criticism when it isn't constructive:

"This meal you made is disgusting."
"This report you turned in is terrible."

Criticism, in its most troubling form, focuses on the individual's personality, character, or interests rather than the specific action or behavior you'd like to see changed:

"You are a terrible cook."
"You're so disorganized and tangential."

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How I Surrendered to the Grief of Losing My Husband

On February 4, 2009 I woke up to find that my husband had died in his sleep from an undetected heart condition. He was forty-nine years old. I was thirty-nine. It was the biggest shock of my life. The first two hours were a blur of emotion, pain, fear, shock, and denial. The next two and a half years have been a lesson in living life much more openly, deeply, and presently.

In the immediate aftermath of his death, I discovered I had two choices. I could either surrender to what had happened, or instead, choose to fight the reality of it all.

Initially, I fought the reality and life was hard. I felt alone, afraid, hurt, angry and even guilty. With Mark gone, I was instantly and solely in charge of our home, cars, finances, and children. I thought 'Til death do us part?' Well, what if I wasn't ready? I felt abandoned, and could not overcome the thought that Mark was supposed to be there with me to help me take care of everything. Deep down I knew he couldn't be there, but accepting that meant accepting the fact that he really was gone. And I wasn't ready for that, so the battle continued.

A few weeks after Mark died a close friend said something to me that changed my perception at the core. She said, "Jennifer, no matter what happens in the future, you will always have lost your husband. There is nothing you can do about that. For the rest of your life it will be a part of who you are. You don't have to ever 'get over it.'"

I realized with those words that I didn't have to act any certain way. I didn't have to get rid of my grief. I didn't have to be anything I wasn't. I was a widow and nothing would ever change that. Not even my deepest thought that it wasn't true. It gave me the long-term view I needed in order to let go of the pressure I was putting on myself to be 'fixed.'

After I heard those words I began to surrender to all of my emotions, including grief. In these moments of surrender, there were glimmers of hope, love and life. For lack of a better way to explain it, angels took over and miracles began happening. Almost mysteriously, life began taking care of itself. The right person walked in the room at the right time, needed items appeared without even asking. It was as if the universe was saying, "Yes, this happened, and yes, it will all be OK. Because no matter how hard it seems, there is something right about this."

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A Powerful New Paradign in Divorce Proceedings

In a high-profile, high-net worth divorce, the financially-dominant spouse is all too often the one who can walk away from court proceedings assured that major lifestyle changes have been averted.

In litigious divorce proceedings, the non-financially dominant spouse –more often than not, and for the purposes of this article, the wife – may find herself at a disadvantage, particularly if her estranged husband has retained a top (read: expensive) divorce attorney.
A new legal paradigm, however, can help protect both parties: collaborative law.

When an affluent marriage is suddenly ending, it can be extraordinarily draining – physically, financially, and particularly emotionally – for the wife to sort out matters. When divorcing, spouses need to choose which assets to take, but if a spouse does not know what those assets actually are, the stress is greatly exacerbated.

While divorce is traumatic for everyone, ultra-high net worth individuals are in a unique situation. In middle class or lower-earning households, each partner knows exactly how much the other brings in, and precisely how much it takes to run the household. Often, the spouses' salaries in a lower income family are not significantly disparate.

In super affluent families, however, the issues are much more complex; sources of income, savings, holdings, investments, and other financial information may have been withheld by the financially dominant husband. This may or may not have been intentional; the result, however, is often a fair degree of financial ignorance on the part of the wife.

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Buying Him a Great Tie

Heading to meetings in NY recently I realized I had left home without my belt and had two choices. Walk around all day clutching my pants to keep them up or find a place to buy a belt. I chose the second option when I stumbled across "tiecoon" at Penn Station. Hoping they sold belts (which they did fortunately) I walked in. Thirty minutes later I realized I had really discovered a new find!

From the initial impression I thought I was in one of those tie franchising businesses. Instead I walked into a unique business owned and operated by Mirko Majokbre and his wife. Mirko, a high level soccer playing father of two from Serbia, has developed a unique business model that meets his personal objectives which are job flexibility, having the opportunity to travel and the ability to spend time with their kids.

A few times a year Mirko and his wife travel to Europe to buy unique ties, sometimes coming home with one of a kind pieces. In his small shop (estimated 150 square feet) Mirko displays 4500 ties ranging in price from $20 to over $250. The selection of ties here is incredible. Mirko also claims to have one of the largest collection of cuff links in New York City.

When asked what the trend toward a more casual dress code for men was doing to his business Mirko claimed "not much." He very much believes that he is really selling art work rather than just the standard stripe and paisley ties. Some of the designs I saw were absolutely stunning.

Without advertising and relying solely on word of mouth and people finding his retail location Mirko has managed to attract a high profile clientele that includes Rudy Gulianni, members of the Kennedy clan and others of a similar ilk.

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The Best (& Inexpensive) Kids Parties

It seemed as though parents were trying to "out spend" each other when putting together their children's parties; but when the economy hit the skids some parents became pretty creative.

Two years ago our daughter-in-law asked our granddaughter who was about to turn six years old what kind of a party she wanted for her birthday. Since pizza is her favorite, our little darling said she wanted a pizza party.

Our daughter-in-law thought about that and wondered how she could keep 10 six-year-olds (and one 4 yr. old little brother) involved and having fun for a couple of hours at a pizza party. It didn't take long before she put together one of the best parties these kids said they had gone to all year.

Our granddaughter likes to cook and bake and loves helping in the kitchen so our daughter-in-law suggested that the young girls (and little brother) make their own pizzas.

If anything Sue is a planner, so she laid out the plan for the party. First things first – how to keep these energetic little girls engaged for 2-3 hours.

1. She purchased child sized white aprons for each of the guests and markers to decorate them, as she wanted this celebration to be creative and lasting.
2. She purchased individual sized pizza shells, pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, grated parmesan cheese, and sliced lots of pepperoni, mushrooms, olives and peppers.
3. Purchased goodie bag favors.
4. Enlisted both grandmas and her husband to help out on the party day.

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The Case for the Only Child

Family life in America has changed drastically over the last few decades. With forty being the new twenty for women starting a family, it indicates they are no longer prepared to risk their biological clock ticking away while waiting for Mr. Right to come along! While we have all been brainwashed at some point into believing the ideal family has two children, the trend toward one-child families throughout the world is unmistakable. 

When social psychologist Susan Newman first published Parenting the Only Child with Random House twenty years ago she was clearly ahead of her time. Here we are now in this new decade where the single child is the fastest growing family unit due to either the rise in the cost of living, the necessity of two-family incomes, older first-time parents, or all three. These and other statistics are discussed and explored in Susan's latest book, The Case for the Only Child (HCI Books – $14.95).

While people think they know how many children they want, they are rocked into reality by costs, infertility problems, job constraints, or being told they are selfish if they don't have a second child. As more women and men, by choice or circumstance, keep their families small, the pressures and questions remain:

• What's really wrong with having one child?
• Is one enough for you? For your partner?
• What constitutes a complete, happy family?
• Will your only child be lonely, spoiled, bossy, or selfish?

The pervasiveness of only-child folklore masquerading as fact implored Dr. Newman to set the record straight about what research really says about having and being an only child while offering the latest findings about the long-term effects of being raised as a singleton.

Being the one to open the dialogue about only children, Dr. Newman was fascinated by the response from both sides of the debate. In The Case for the Only Child, she discusses the pros and cons of a larger family and walks parents (and future parents) through the long list of facts:

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Are You Causing Your Pet to be Stressed?

Veterinarian Reveals How Stress & Diet Can Affect Dogs & Cats

You might not realize it, but if Fluffy or Skippy are listless, disobedient and getting sick all the time, chances are that your pet doesn't have some mysterious disease – he or she may simply be stressed out.

"A lot of people think that stress is something that only affects humans, but it's a very real threat to the health and happiness of their pets, too," said Dr. Paul McCutcheon, a veterinarian with more than 45 years experience and co-author of The New Holistic Way for Dogs and Cats from Random House (www.newholisticway.com). "Better pet care will result when pet lovers and veterinarians understand that stress is the underlying cause of every form of health problem a dog or cat can have."

Dr. McCutcheon believes that stress, combined with diet and other environmental concerns, can present serious – but unspecific – symptoms that can worry both the pet and the pet owner.

"It is important to distinguish between acute stress, immediate and intense, versus chronic stress, a real drag on wellness that results from a long-standing cause of stress," he said. "The best way to support your pet's present and future wellness is through stress prevention. Tune into the kinds of stress that affect your pet and stress-proof the ways you look after their daily needs. For instance, boredom and loneliness are probably the most damaging stress factors in a pet's life."

Dr. McCutcheon's tips for pet owners who want healthier, happier pets include:

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I Wish Daddy Was Here - A Book for Military Kids

More than 400K Troops Miss Holidays at Home-Military Wife Has Message for Their Families

You don't have to tell Kat DeMille about what it's like to be home for the holidays, but still without the ones you love.

The former Navy brat grew up to become an Air Force wife, so she doesn't need to be reminded of the 425,000 Americans who will celebrate the holidays somewhere other than home this year, according to U.S. Department of Defense statistics. She's been living those holidays most of her life.

"One of the most important things I learned as a kid was that it is okay to feel sad and to miss the ones we love," said DeMille, author of the children's book I Wish Daddy Was Here (www.iwishdaddywashere.com). "Children take their cues from the adults who surround them, and in military families, there is always this semblance of steely reserve. They don't want to show sadness around the kids, so all the kids see are the brave faces, and it makes it easy for them to bottle up their sadness or feel that missing their moms or dads is a bad thing. I had to unlearn that misconception, and it actually helped me feel better."

DeMille believes kids should know that while it's important to move on with their daily lives while a parent is deployed, that it's also okay to miss them and to let their sadness out when they need to. She said that part of the message of her children's book is that the sadness is a part of coping with the reality of modern troop deployments.

"My husband is currently deployed right now, so my daughter and I are living it along with every other military family this holiday season," she added. "Especially during this time of year, missing a family member is like the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. The military life causes many families to endure extended separation. How we deal with the time apart makes a big difference in a child's life."

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Mommy Gets Schooled

It was a weird kind of quiet.

The kids were back at school after a long summer, and we both had the morning off. After the last bus pulled away we were faced with an almost otherworldly quiet; even the pets seemed to know it was an unusual morning and called a truce to their usual sleep-fueled quest for world domination. My husband and I were drinking our coffee in our usual spots, me in my office and he in his reading chair in the family room.

But it was dead quiet. As the morning progressed, we moved about the kitchen like ghosts, not quite running into each other but not quite acknowledging each other either. There was no tension or anything; there was just . . . quiet.

When I finally spoke, it was as though I were shouting. "Hi," I said. It actually echoed.

"Hi," he replied.

"Um . . . I'm Maggie," I said, putting out my hand.

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