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!








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

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Woman




Eat Your Heart Out



I never worry about diets.

The only carrots that interest me

are the numbers on a diamond.

Mae West


To eat, drink, and truly be merry through the holidays, can we please skirt the topic of weight, workouts and diets at festivities? I do my best by walking away or staying mum when this very popular ho-hum subject comes up. What could happen in 2016 if you chuck the weighing scale, keep active in whatever way is fun for you and just listen to your body–eat natural fresh food when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full?

From Courtney Martin’s book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body:

Sex and food are the two most loaded issues of our time, the Pandora’s box of our culture, universal and forbidden simultaneously. We even use the same language when it comes to both: temptation, pleasure, crave. Just as we are surrounded by advertisements for food that we “shouldn’t” eat, invited to indulge because we deserve it, we are told, in the next thirty-second spot, that we should get back to the gym if we want to work off some guilt and make ourselves worthy of a bikini this summer. Sexual images are all around us, and pornography inaccessible at the touch of a button, but any teenage girl who wants to protect her reputation must exercise absolute restraint, wait for a committed relationship to explore her sexuality, and keep quiet about masturbation.

How can anyone, under these conditions, be expected to know her true desire? How can anyone navigate the dangerous terrain of reputation and expectation on the road toward her authentic sexuality? How can a woman excited about life emerge without hating the body that leads her into temptation?

After publishing The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life, Wendy Shanker traveled the nation doing readings, book signings, and talking to fans. She reflects, “The best lesson I learned touring is that eery woman, no matter how heavy or how skinny, feels fat. When you’re thin, you’re never thin enough.” When I see some hot girl saunter down the street, I used to give her a dirty look, sure that she had a perfect life. Now I know better. I know that she may look different on the outside, but inside she feels the same way I do. Now, instead of a dirty look, I throw a little mini-vibe of compassion her way.”

This is the heart of the matter: A perfect girl can rule just as tyrannically, and a starving daughter can ache just as deeply, inside a thin body. Our dissatisfaction is never, at its deepest, about our bodies. This is why fat women and thin women often experience the world in similar ways. If a thin woman feels inadequate and “thinks fat,” she may endure less hate coming from the outside in than a fat woman but just as much criticism and sadness from the inside out. If a woman of any size is able to stop her negative self-talk and accept herself, she may experience the world with a little peace of mind.

Obsessing over every little thing we put in our mouths takes away our ability to control our own thoughts, our inalienable right to feel good about ourselves regardless of the size of our thighs. It takes away our time, our pleasure, our energy, our vision, our joy. We are not our bodies. Our souls are not our stomachs. Our brains are not our butts.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share how well you’ll feed Santa at last. And have the merriest Ho-Ho-Ho!







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

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

Self(ie) Love and Thanks

Wealth hasn’t changed who I am.

My feet are still on the ground.

I’m just wearing better shoes.

Oprah Winfrey


I’ve finally figured out the recipe for the happiest of holidays! First ingredient: Delegate! For Thanksgiving, my teens made one dish each while dinner guests added their family specialty to the buffet. They swear they’d never seen a hostess so relaxed even when the turkey burned–a casualty of computer games distracting the designated chef. I suspect forgoing heels at home had more to do with my cool, for I firmly believe (and note this second ingredient!) stilettos should only be worn to bed.

Looking at the big picture of my year, I spy the third and main ingredient: while “nothing is better than more, except all,” happiness truly depends on our ability to choose gratitude. No one teaches me this as effectively as my stubborn teen who struggles with the concept daily, cringes at hugs, and abhors giving praise. I count him among my great blessings because he reminds me that nobody can take away my power to give myself the love and approval I need.

Fingers and toes run out quickly as I count the small miracles I am thankful for: The very many fun travel adventures and the people I’ve met in my journey, the authors and Powerful Goddesses who have generously shared their wisdom and beauty on this blog, my firstborn thriving at college, he and his sister falling in love with the fun of ballroom dancing, the other son determined to do well on his SAT, the darling husband happy at work, this blog’s fans who always add inspiration and cheerful comments, family and friends who bring laughter and sunshine to our lives, excellent health, teachers who expand our understanding, acceptance and appreciation for who we are, all that what we’ve got, and what we can choose to be.

How about you?  Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your small miracles.







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

Glamour Portraits of the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother

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