Peace and Party At The Farm

 

All animals are equal,

but some animals are

more equal than others.

George Orwell

 

 

Now that travel to other continents is not feasible for many of us in 2020, I’ve had to re-consider my aversion to long drives (ie, anything beyond 7 minutes) and to explore the joys of what’s within driving distance.  Two hours from Manhattan is the Peaceful Windhorse Farm, an idyllic party venue for those with the “return to nature” sensibility or those who want relief from all this isolation and regroup under open sky. When public transit comes back in style, the Metro North is another romantic way to get there as you soak in the zen Hudson River views along the way.

The farm’s gracious overseer guided me on a tour of its 108 acres with her handy plant ID app. That afternoon, she discovered that the wide variety of foliage on her land included a liberal sprinkling of olive trees and bushes which could be fruitful if warm weather were more fashionable year round in the Northeast.

We meandered over grassy pathways through woods and prairies that have hosted memorable candlelit parties on long dinner tables under the stars, gatherings around breathtaking bonfires, happy hour on a hill at sunset with a bartender or two possibly serving drinks from a rustic hunter’s hideout.  Its main house has a pool that can host a family for the summer.  Its expansive barn has been converted into a spacious event space for weddings or family reunions. Guests are thrilled to pet and feed the Noah’s ark stable of local residents:  2 enormous pigs, 2 handsome goats, 2 bucolic horses, 2 sheepish (I couldn’t help this!) sheep. There may have been more than 2 chickens, but we all know extra eggs always come in handy.

After harvesting the mulberry tree as far as our fingers could reach and a few futile attempts at convincing the goats and pigs they’ve had enough feasting underneath it, we sat for a picturesque dinner overlooking the pond. To my hostess’ delight, what appeared to be a little rock tucked next to the candle on the table was a live frog. She let her ravioli get cold as she excitedly searched for and downloaded the Frog ID app, determined to identify the species of this Frog Prince before we deemed it worthy of a kiss. She snapped the frog’s photo and we held our breaths while the app searched its data base. We waited… and waited some more… until, at last, the app made up its mind. This creature, the app decreed most assuredly, was a mushroom.

For inquiries on hosting your next memorable party event or family reunion at Peaceful Windhorse Farm, contact ‭(212) 807-9642‬. And enjoy making the best of this summer of our new normal!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

 

Making Mother Happy

 

There are three ways to get something done:

do it yourself, hire someone to do it,

or ask your kids NOT to do it.

Malcolm Kushner

 

 

“It’s for Mother’s Day!” I hollered in exasperation.  To cajole those who believe themselves too busy and too cool for school, I’ve had to use all possible enticements from “This won’t take long” to the more pointed “I wouldn’t even ask you to be in the picture if you weren’t family!”  By the time I’ve convinced the last of them to agree to coordinate calendars, wear similar outfits, deafen my ears to the manly banter while they bicker about who gets to wear which pants or shoes, plus persuade the one who loves ankle socks to part with them just for this occasion, my well of charm and patience has gotten thoroughly dried out. And this is all before I’ve set up equipment!  Don’t ask how I manage to smile in front of the camera after what goes on behind it–herding cows may be far easier.

My Inner Eternal Optimist is consoled by the thought that three agreeable ones out of five is not so bad for a family average. That with our eldest packed to venture out of lockdown and leave for his first full-time job out of college while the younger ones look forward to summer jobs elsewhere,  each day of being ignored in favor of their devices is mere training for the return to Empty Nest. So I grin and bear it, prevailing over any and all objections, aware that none of us can really know when we’ll have more of these special moments to take each other for granted again.

I dedicate this time capsule to my future grandchildren. When their parents ask them to gather for a family photo shoot, may they dutifully take revenge on my behalf.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you’re making your Mother’s Day happy.  Keep smiling!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

 

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

 

Merry On A White Beach: A Christmas Wedding

 

I love being married.

It’s so great to find that one special person

you can annoy the rest of your life.

Rita Rudner

 

 

After waiting an entire lifetime for Mr. Right, my favorite sister brought together our nearest and dearest to celebrate her first ever (and I’m sure the groom hopes, her ONLY) wedding. I loved that this most memorable family reunion was on the beach and in a casual setting, attendees dressed in white and the groom was good humored about holding props as requested.

As the bride’s Best Woman, I shared with the cozy gathering a few things I’ve learned from having had a head start of 25 years in this marriage business. Many are easier in theory than practice, but, hey, it’s the thought that counts:

Pick you battles and don’t believe that nonsense about never going to bed angry. Things look different in the morning when you’re better rested. But, of course, if you can’t fall sleep, then stay up and fight!

Being right is overrated.

When your spouse’s behavior is open to interpretation, ascribe the higher motive.

Bite your tongue when tempted to nag or complain, look out for the good, count blessing and express gratitude often.

The louder your spouse yells, the quieter and calmer you need to be.

Your definition of sexy will change over time.

Generosity is the key to happiness.

The most important four words in a marriage: I’ll clean up, Honey.

Be the first to apologize. Life is too short to hold grudges.

Accept apologies graciously.

It takes a village to make a marriage work.

Sweep her off her feet and add fireworks, literally.

Never complain about the food when your spouse cooks.

Wisdom from a Chinese proverb: Big talk, big mistake. Small talk, small mistake. No talk, no mistake.

Because love conquers all and bind us no matter what, click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your relationship advice for living happily ever after. My young adults won’t likely have the patience to wait around as long for their own fairytale, so the one strategy I’d pass on to them is to be the kind of spouse their husband/wife will be foolish to leave.

Through the holidays, keep friends and family close, your enemies closer along with receipts of all major gift purchases. Ho Ho Ho!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a most memorable photo shoot for up to three people!

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© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

How To Thank The Thanksgiving Hostess

 

There’s turkey ham, turkey bologna,

turkey pastrami… Someone needs to tell the turkey,

“Man, just be yourself!”

Mitch Hedberg

 

When I grow up, I’ll look forward to being the guest for Thanksgiving. Until that day comes, I soldier on hosting for the sake of keeping my teens engaged in the kitchen and leaving them with good memories of tradition and togetherness.  A bit more fun than being sad and lonely tech zombies on their individual cellphones and laptops, yes?

My wish for them is to be wanted as guests in other people’s homes, too, and here are a few clues to what it takes to be the hostess’ favorite whatever your age:

Arrive on time–no excuses. No asking for pickup from the bus stop if you have legs that can carry you the distance.

Send a lovely flower arrangement before the event or visit.  It is always wise not to show up empty handed but bringing a bouquet of flowers only gives the hostess one more last minute thing to do (find and fill a vase) when she already has more than enough on her plate.

Clean up after yourself and help clear the kitchen sink.  If the hostess protests. tell her it’s against your religion and you’d rather make it to heaven.

Bring the entertainment.  Being a good guest can simply be as fun as bringing a game, activity (eg, face painting with young kids) or teach a magic/card trick or skill that entertains all.

If you’re a weekend guest, make/bring breakfast one morning and pay for at least one meal out while you’re there.

After you leave, mail an old fashioned thank you note with prints of your best photos from your time together. Nobody makes time to print but, truth be told, in our age of constantly changing technology and infinite digital photos, only prints count for posterity.

Surprise the hostess with a gift she will enjoy (a board game her family will love, a wireless speaker for their porch, etc).

Pick up the phone and invite them to be your guest when they’re in your part of the world.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what you like to add to the Thanksgiving table.  Happy Gobble Gobble and know I’m thankful for you!

xoxox

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of up to three people!

 

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

A Jealous Husband’s Lament

 

When you’re young, you think

your dad is Superman.

Then you grow up and realize

he’s just a regular guy who wears a cape.

Dave Attell

What woman would not prefer a man who wines and dines her with a more refined sartorial sense? A man who’s not afraid of feelings and can look her deeply in the eyes while holding meaningful conversation? All these after years of togetherness and familiarity. Nor do I mean a gay friend either.

Happy Father’s Day to the superhero we live with–May we never grow blind to your  unique superpowers through the years!

Excerpt from Devin Friedman’s article “A Jealous Husband’s Lament” in GQ’s May 2018 issue:

Why, as the family man ages, does he become more reclusive, sedentary, ursine? Meanwhile, it’s different for women, I discovered recently  that my wife has been having all these affairs. With her friends. She goes out and drinks wine and smokes secret cigarettes with April and Melissa and Robyn and Krista. They’re in love with each other.

They get plowed on natural wines and eat fine European cheeses and tell each other everything. They tell each other about their periods, about early menopause, about sex and what their husbands’ penises look like, about the terrible fears they have about their children and how we’re all going to die in the end.

And I have to admit that I’m jealous that my friends and I aren’t like that. I think part of the reason for this state of affairs is that, at this point I kind of don’t want another relationship in my life. I relate to my kids. I relate to my wife. I relate to my wife about my kids. I relate to my kids about each other. I relate to the people I work with. All I want to do at night is drink a Negroni and not relate to anybody.

And I think the other part is that men are brittle, ego-obsessed little freaks. I know virtually nothing about most of my friends’ sex lives, wifely relationships, erectile dysfunctions, fears of death and bankruptcy. That, at least for me, is because we care too deeply about seeming like we’re doing okay. That we’re winning. That we have achieved a place in the world. That we are not failures. But how much fun is it to meet your friend for a drink and lay out an argument for how awesome you are?

So here’s a proclamation: I’m going to get more intimate. I’m going to have an affair with my friend. I feel like the way to do it is to be forthright and real. As a gambit, but also maybe as a better way to live. I expect middling success. But look out, Zach’s wife, because I’m about to know everything about you.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how you’ll celebrate Father’s Day and a super kiss to your favorite superman!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

xoxox

 

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits with a

Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of up to three people:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

When Santa Gets Naughty

 

Santa has the right idea:

Visit people

once a year.

Victor Borge

 

 

Imagine if every Santa said “No, thanks!” to doing all the things people take for granted, can’t be bothered to do, or simply deride: planning gatherings, putting up holiday decor, shopping and wrapping presents, sending holiday cards, cooking, hosting, and cleaning up after parties, stroking egos, playing diplomat between factions and generations, being the invisible glue that binds family and friends together?

Just sayin’.

Happiest of Holidays with enormous gratitude to every Santa out there! For a convenient holiday planning guide, see Real Simple’s Ultimate Christmas Countdown Checklist.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share how much more interesting the year might get if a Santa this hot promises to (teach you how to) whip naughty into nice?

Keep doing the all the good you do and the warmest of divine holiday blessings to you and your beloveds. Ho-Ho-Ho!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of up to three people:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

 

The Thanksgiving Guru

 

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough and more.

It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,

and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Melody Beattie

 

Last week, I heard a woman speak about the definition of gratitude beyond what you find in a dictionary. I loved her reminder that gratitude is not only about being thankful for what we have, it’s about out ability to give in whatever capacity regardless of our own circumstances.

And when it comes to being charitable, is there a better place to practice than home?  Home–that place where it’s easiest to take people for granted, where biting one’s tongue is a daily mediation, where one’s divinity and charm get tested most passionately. Over the holidays, how do you channel your inner Buddha and keep a thankful heart amidst the wilderness of those you can’t live without nor can’t get rid of?

Meet on neutral ground.  A destination resort allows everyone to chill and enjoy each other without the stress of housekeeping, cooking, groceries and running the laundry.  All the more energy for all to behave graciously around each other.

Have a virtual visit. Skype, Facebook and FaceTime allow far-flung relatives to share adventures, open presents together, exchange knock knock jokes for hours with your four year old niece. Schedule calls after something exciting so children and teens will have more news to open a conversation.

Make a contribution. It is easy to fall back on the role of dependent when you’re in your parents’ roof so make a commitment to yourself to take on chores (and bills) without being asked. When my sister can’t visit my neck of the woods, she sends a special floral arrangement as our dining room’s centerpiece so she is always a remembered in our celebration.

Build in breathing space. If visiting relatives with children, stay at a nearby hotel or Airbnb to give the hostess down time. That way you can change venues when crankiness (either adult or juvenile) sets in. If your parents insist, let the children sleep over and you can get date night out of it.

Manage expectations. Of course, you’ll want to hang out with people you enjoy more–those we usually call “friends”. Just let the family know in advance so they don’t make plans that you’ll end up foiling.

Hang on to your sense of humor. Family is the wisest of all spiritual gurus–relatives never give up egging you until you surrender and find another perspective that allows you to make peace with the situation if not the person. Humor is my best defense. When someone starts to tip my tea and I’m at the brink of forgetting I am divine and sublime, I play worse case scenario  with myself “At least, (s)he’s not…”

It is with great pleasure that I share the poem above from a thoughtful guest who graced our table a couple of Thanksgivings ago. Its truth is clear and will resonate forever.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your greatest blessing this year. Know that I am thankful for you! Gobble gobble!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess Gift Certificate

for a two hour photo shoot of up to three people:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

Remembering Dad

I gave my dad $100 and said,

“Buy something that makes your life easier.”

So he bought something for my mother.

Rita Rudner

 

 

After you’ve trolled the mall and tired of online shopping without coming up with a brilliant Father’s Day gift idea, how about circling back to what’s most precious and truly essential?  How about giving Dad the gift of memory beyond pictures? Sit over a cup of coffee and give him your undivided attention.  Get curious and ask what he remembers best about his childhood, who shaped the man he became, what he enjoyed raising you (especially through the teen years,) and what he hopes for the future. Understanding where the man came from is necessary in telling a richer story when it’s your turn to remember the best of your life, too.

Whether you are thinking of a new relationship or simply want to strengthen old ties, Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Effective Families lists questions that help you craft a personal mission statement that provides a touchstone for all to stay connected as a family while each member navigates his/her own destiny.

What kind of person/spouse/parent/family do we want to be?

How do we want to treat each other?

What roles should each of us have?

How can we best relate with each other’s families?

How do we want to resolve our differences?

How do we want to handle our finances?

What values do we want to teach our children?

How do we support and develop potential in each other?

What kind of discipline do we want to use with our children?

What kind of home do we want to invite friends to?

What traditions do we want to keep (and create)?

What do we want to be remembered by?

How do we want to give back?

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share what your dad taught you best!

xoxox

 

 

 

 

 

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

 

 

 

Ho-Ho-Holiday Family Cheer

Parenting is mostly 

informing kids how many minutes

they have left of something.

@yoyoha

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As another year brings us closer to another teen leaving home for college,  it becomes clearer to me that creating happy family memories has got to be the most important job of parenting. Best if you print proof to remind them of the good old days when many changes of technology later shall have voided today’s digital files.

If you don’t get to print a family album for Christmas, print a few of the best of photos off your smartphone and pack a “time capsule” box for each kid to sift through with their own (grand)children later.

These pictures are from our day tour to see Dad’s office then taking the train to the city to marvel at the white marble and fantastic design of the Oculus, walking through Central Park, and surprising them with a gondola ride while waiting for dinner at the Boathouse.

I’ve been around the world and there’s no gondola ride more royal than after dark at Central Park when you get the lake, the NYC skyline, and the heavens above all to yourselves. The gondolier serenades you with his witty renditions of Italian arias personalized to the occasion you’re celebrating.  Add this adventure to your own family treasures!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your best memory with  the family this year. Warmest of holiday wishes and many more merries!

xoxox

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xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift

of elegant and timeless portraits

with  a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

© Sharon Birke

Managing Member, DoubleSmart LLC

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman

My Grandmother’s Closet

My grandmother was a very tough woman.

She buried three husbands and

two of them were just napping. 

Rita Rudner

 _S5A6660NYC-NJ-90th=birthday-Glamour-Powerful-Goddess

A quiet moment of thanks to commemorate the life of the woman who inspired the mission of Powerful Goddess Portraits: To celebrate every woman’s best by making the most of what she’s got.  My grandmother passed last week at 92 surrounded by everyone who loved and was loved by her.

Corazon (Spanish for “heart”) was my first arbiter of style. Her busy extended household was the home of my childhood. A prudish Catholic upbringing failed to  dampen her sense of humor, her love of retelling (saucy) jokes and collecting gag curios to make you blush. Her womb birthed 6 children, she raised many of 15 grandchildren and 13 more call her Great Grandmother today.  Thinking about her signature dishes continues to have a Pavlovian effect on my mouth.

As the inveterate night owl, she fascinated me on many late school nights with her ingenuity, her hunched figure diligently presiding over the formal dining table filled with accoutrements for her project de la nuit.  When my mom was crowned teen queen, she designed the very first quick change gown the town still talks about–no one had ever witnessed a gown transform into a completely different outfit in the blink of an eye!   When my daughter was 6 and ready for the hula dances I learned at her age, guess who sent us matching handmade grass skirts?   There was a time when Ikebana was the rage, bonsai plants took over the garage, her sewing machine a permanent fixture in the living room.   Her house was a revolving door not only of creative projects, but also of pets from goldfish, turtles, chickens, birds, several breeds of dogs, way before the grandchildren  joined the parade.

You didn’t have to leave her house to get a hair cut or perm because she could do that, too. “Let’s shape your eyebrows…” was my initiation to the wonders of makeup.  You can’t buy my favorite summer purse on 5th Avenue–it’s an antique of timeless design from her closet.  For my recent birthday, my kids were impressed by her sketch of animals kissing, elegant calligraphy lacing through the card decorated with her lipstick kiss marks–Who would guess that this artistic script in impeccable English is by someone who never made it to highschool nor to other countries much?  She rarely steps out of the house these days, but when she does, lipstick has got to match the dress.

It was s  sweet homecoming with the aunts, uncles, cousins I grew up with.  How I wish my kids could enjoy the pleasures of being imposed on, sleeping through chaos, being loved by and required to love noisy and nosey relatives of countless degrees!   I say personal space is overrated and Hillary is right about that village!

Laughter mixed with tears when we had to say “When might we see each other again?” goodbyes and I am forever grateful for a childhood around this doyen of talent and creativity.  I am forever blessed with the strength of my self-defined style, compassion, a keen eye for design among the very many talents I have been so lucky to inherit from this Powerful Goddess.  Daghang salamat, Ama Azon, for the treasures of your closet and the treasured memories and wisdom of a lifetime:

that happiness, like religion, has many faces and true faith means respecting each other’s choice for what best suits our needs

that marriage is not a reform institution.  To make any relationship work, there can only be gratitude and the question “Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?”

that today is the day to enjoy what we’ve got and be present for the love and laughter of family and friends

I am grateful for all that I am because of you, Ama Azon!

xoxox

You can swim the deepest ocean and never find a fish like this

NYC-NJ-Vintage-Fish-Purse-Portraits-Powerful-Goddess-9270591-2

These hands make countless memories and things out of nothing–

and yes, may you wear hip nails at 90, too!

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My Birthday Card

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Half a lifetime ago

photo

And now a bit too big for Grandma’s lap

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xoxox

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email me

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

The Graduate

The unfortunate, yet truly exciting thing

about life is that

there is no core curriculum.

The entire place is an elective.

Jon Stewart

Drummer-Boy-Highschool-Senior-Graduate-by-Sharon-Birke

My not so little Drummer Boy is marching off to college–hopefully without lugging his drum set. Sniff! Have I told him everything I wanted to say? Will he remember to dare failure and never give up on himself? Will he get some sleep despite internet being on 24/7 at the dorm?

Because a mother’s wisdom may not always appeal to a teen, a favorite Powerful Goddess blog fan helped cull this collection of books that might be lifetime companions for someone starting out on life’s brave new solo adventures.

The Evolution Man or How I Ate My Father by Roy Lewis

Have the travails of teens and man changed much since our cave dwelling days? Human evolution explained as a domestic situation comedy.

How-I-Ate-My-Father-Roy-Lewis

 

For all hopeful tinkerers and creatives who suspect creativity is the domain of a select few.  Might genius simply be the fruit of learning from the next failed step that you persist beyond?

How To Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention and Discovery by Kevin Ashton

How-to-Fly-a-Horse-Kevin-Ashton

The Aladdin Factor by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Life could be much sweeter (and sooner) when we ask for the help we need. Here’s why and how.

aladdin-factor-book

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter by Meg Jay

For the generation of indulged youth, a friendly reminder that it’s never too soon to plant the seeds of relationships, career and finances.

Defining_Decade_Meg_Jay

To honor my Drummer Boy’s Asian roots while impressing young ladies with his culinary skills:

Mangoes and Curry Leaves: Travels Through The Great Subcontinent by Jeffrey Alford

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Because he was born in a land that he has not visited since…

Frog In The Well: Portraits of Japan by Watanabe Kazan by Donald Keene

Frog-in-the-Well-Watanabe-Kazan-Donald-Keene

To make the ladies swoon…

John Updike’s Collected Poems 1953 to 1993

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The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz

Easily the smallest book of the lot, it is powerful in its specific practices  on how to live in peace with oneself, with the least worry and regret.

Four-Agreements_Don-Miguel-Ruiz

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat (Young Reader’s Edition) by Michael Pollan

If what we eat is what we are and think, shouldn’t we be more curious about our food–or what we consider food?

Omnivores-Dilemma-Michael-Pollan

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

A non-fiction thriller lest science and obsession carry him away, leading him to forget he is a piece of nature’s whole.

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And whether you are have comfortably discussed the myriad aspects of the topic that simmers in their mind…

S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College by Heather Corinna

SEX-book-for-teens-Heather-Corinna

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to add your fave to this list. And give yourself a giant pat on the back for being the best parent that you are!

xoxox

Give the women you love the most unique gift of elegant and timeless portraits

with a Powerful Goddess portrait session Gift Certificate:

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

 Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Remembering Robin Williams

Be kind,

for everyone you meet

is fighting a harder battle.

Plato

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A quiet pause to honor a fireball of laughs, Robin Williams. His genius for improv was said to be honed by a solitary childhood.  His standup comedy put our pain and miseries in hilarious perspective. If our darkness is the birth place of our light, why do we feel compelled to hide behind a constant cheerful mask?

While a performer lives for the audience’s laughter and applause, he must always muster the courage to bare his soul to relentless critics.  I prefer to honor this man’s great legacy through movies that family generations can enjoy together than remembering him for how he chose to die.

Please add your favorite Robin Williams movie by clicking on “Leave a Comment” (above left). xoxox

Mrs. Doubtfire

My favorite Robin Williams movie!  Daniel Hillard (Williams) is a kind man and a loving father, but he’s a shaky role model for the kids so he loses custody when the wife divorced him.  Learning that his wife was advertising for a housekeeper, Daniel applies for the job as the perfect Scottish nanny so he can see his children more than once a week.

Patch Adams

A medical student strives to improve the quality of life of terminally ill patients and prove that laughter is the best medicine.  “When you treat a disease, you win or you lose. But when you treat a person, you win no matter what the outcome.”

The Fisher King

An abrasive radio deejay (Jeff Bridges) strikes up an unlikely friendship with a homeless man (Williams) who has a poignant connection to his past.

Dead Poets Society

An embattled English teacher at a private academy inspires students with the power of language and all that make life worth living:  poetry romance, love.

Birdcage

A gay couple attempts to present a “normal” family when their son brings home his fiancee’s parents.

 World’s Greatest Dad

A milquetoast high school teacher pens a phony suicide note for his son after discovering him dead of auto-erotic asphyxiation. I love the scene of how he masks frustration and tears with stifled laughter when a colleague comments “Raising a child is the toughest job you’ll ever know.”

Moscow On The Hudson

Released during the peak of the Cold War 1980s, a Soviet circus musician (played by Williams in an early dramatic role) defects to the United States while he’s in New York for a performance.

Good Morning, Vietnam

The wartime experience of real-life Armed Forces Radio Service DJ Adrian Cronauer, finding belly laughs as well as poignant drama in his attempts to survive the war while finding friendship and battling the hypocrisy of his superiors. Life, liberty, happiness is America!

 Good Will Hunting

As the therapist who helps Will Hunting (Matt Damon) move beyond his troubled past, Williams provided an impetus for the film’s touching final act while delivering some of his most sensitive dramatic work.

Aladdin

His largely ad-libbed voice work as the genie in 1992’s Aladdin represents the best of Williams firing on all cylinders and delivering some of his funniest lines without having to carry the film.

 

xoxox

Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Sharon@PowerfulGoddess.com

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

A Thanksgiving Dish

The essence of all beautiful art,

all great art,

is gratitude.

Friedrich Nietzsche

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Aahh, the happy holidays are here and my heart goes out to all ye who have to cook but don’t want to.  The caterer’s order form keeps winking at me each time I walk past the kitchen counter, but no, I shall not succumb to temptation.  My kids need every available bait to lure them away from their singular preoccupation–the computer–and if this means overseeing the mess as they make the one dish each is supposed to contribute to the Thanksgiving table, I shall prevail!

I must call Martha and find out how she keeps her apron spotless, her smile calm and fresh after preparing a feast for twenty.  From scratch.  Where does she find guests who sit politely around the dinner table without anyone ever checking their smartphone, the men never staring at the TV, the kids eating daintily without fighting?  More importantly, where does she hide her army of assistants who lead us to believe one smiling woman did it all? How do domestically challenged women cope with this popular myth of the perfect mother?  Oy vey!

I am thankful I’ve learned to be gentle with myself.  My pumpkin pots look better as props for posing, yes?

I am thankful for the Powerful Goddesses who bless this blog with their infinite wisdom, beauty and inspiration.

I am thankful for the love of family and friends who understand happiness is gratitude for what is–perfection not necessary.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what you’re thankful for.  A very Happy Gobble Gobble!

xoxox

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© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email me

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

xoxox

A Birthday Duet

There are far, far better things ahead

than any we leave behind.

C.S. Lewis

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What could be more fun than celebrating your birthday with your BFF?

This Powerful Goddess was radiant the night she and her lifelong friend made their dream come true of stepping onto the red carpet in style.   Loving family and friends traveled near and far to reminisce and honor these two stars who shine brightly in their worlds, bringing laughter and fun to the lives they touch.  It was a night to remember with a surprise Mamma Mia number that got the crowd dancing!  The gratitude of each guest was palpable, a testament to the Goddesses’ loving warmth, generosity, and inspiration in their strength to prevail no matter what.

As they continue their journey through life’s twists and turns, hopeful hearts hum her favorite tune, Judy Garland’s Somewhere Over The Rainbow:

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There’s a land that I’ve heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream,
Really do come true.

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
High above the chimney tops,
That’s where you’ll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share what you want to find over your rainbow? xoxox

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© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Email me

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

A Very Blessed Birthday

Age is something that doesn’t matter,

unless you are a cheese.

 Billie Burke

“Show me who’s taller!”  My teen asks his little sister to mark his height standing head to head with his younger brother.  He turns around dismayed to see his sister’s hand inches short of his brother’s top.

I tried to console him with a version of Hallmark greeting cards, “You know, it’s not how tall, it’s how happy…”

And his brother–the same one who never lets their sister win an argument–chimes in, ‘Then you win, Dude!”

I am blown away by the fullness of this past year!  I may not have grown an inch taller –without platform heels– but I have definitely reached new heights by coming home to my native talents and strengths, woven together seamlessly in service of chronicling a woman’s many joys.  I’ve been richly blessed by those who have inspired and nourished me:  friends, family, clients, models, teachers, fellow creatives, and fans, people who have given generously of their time, talents, wisdom and praise.  I feel full with gratitude that my art helps a woman celebrate who she is beyond her roles of mother, daughter, and wife.  I most love soaking in the memory of laughter shared at photo shoots, stretching comfort zones in embracing a woman’s beauty, telling her story for posterity, and honoring her amazing body that serve so many, so well in one lifetime.

THANK YOU, All, for the gifts you are to me!

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your blessings here.

xoxox

© Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

www.PowerfulGoddess.com

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Powerful Goddess is a trademark of DoubleSmart LLC

PS  Many thanks to Sumit for this sparkly 4th of July photo…

xoxox

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