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:

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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

My Grandmother’s Closet

My grandmother was a very tough woman.

She buried three husbands and

two of them were just napping. 

Rita Rudner

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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?

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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

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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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