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Tried and True

March 20, 2017

I have been a pesco-vegetarian (a vegetarian that eats fish and seafood) for the past six months. My body has undergone a major transformation from the inside- out.  At first, there was no real huge difference. The changes were subtle, like a sense of feeling lighter and much improved digestion and elimination.

Then came the weight loss, or what I call, the body simply going back to its natural size. Our natural size is where we should be in body mass by consuming clean foods as opposed to all the fast food and harsh GMO’s we consume, which is totally not the way nature intended for us as humans to eat.

I work out at least three to four times per week, but even with the working out and the vegetarian lifestyle, I was still feeling a bit bloated and it showed in my face and hands.

My face looked puffy to me, although my body was shrinking.  So I decided to do an experiment on myself.  I started to increase my water intake and I totally eliminated salt from my diet for two weeks.  Within just one week, I noticed that my waistline shrank.  After two weeks, the puffiness in my face and hands was a minimal.

I then went into overdrive on my system.  I did some research online and found some natural diuretics with other amazing health benefits like cranberry juice.

The cranberry juice seem to attack the extra water retention in my body by flushing out all impurities in my blood stream and my kidneys. This would make sense, because it is a known fact that cranberry juice is a natural remedy in the prevention of urinary tract infections.  Cranberry juice attacks plaque and bacteria in certain areas of the body.  The next ingredient I added to my diet regimen is apple cider vinegar.  I used to drink apple cider vinegar years ago, and somehow, I fell off the wagon, so to speak.

I really should have stayed with it, because it is chock full of healthful benefits, for example it lowers HDL/LDL cholesterol, detoxes the liver and it is ideal for weight loss.

I have trained myself to drink two tablespoons every morning, chasing it down with a half a glass of cranberry juice.  This method, over the past six months was just the overhaul my body needed to help jump start my weight loss goal.  I wanted to drop two pants sizes by spring.  I am happy to say that I am now at a perfect size 8 and my goal of a size 7 is knocking on springs door!

Keep in mind, that a person must be consistent with this method, keep eating clean and keep on keeping on with your workouts.  I have sacrificed a great deal in the past six months  as it has been an uphill battle for me simultaneously dealing with a back injury, making it almost impossible on some days to even work out. Yet and still I rise! I persevered through my back pain and kept eating right and working it out in the gym. I am happy to share my true methods with the world and I know that you will be pleased as well . . . give them a try!

Sonya Marie Bowman is a writer of positive prose for the Milwaukee Community Journal and a published co-author of the book No Artificial Ingredients – Reflections Unplugged. She is a member of Sister Speak, a trilogy of writers who formed in 2010 with a vision of self-expression and a goal of healing. The trio states they are inspired by grace, allowing them to take a genuine position on the struggles and successes of everyday living.

Healing Through Storytelling

March 16, 2017

Whether you are a victim of domestic violence, a stoke survivor, or a recovering alcoholic, healing occurs when you share your story.

The embarrassment. The shame. Or just the pain of it all. Your testimony can heal your open wounds while also restoring faith that you can and will overcome any situation.

Why is it important to tell our truths? Because our realities generate a volubility that forces us to take off our masks and reveal our true selves. This honesty then pushes us to paint a new self-portrait, initiating self-confidence that will then allow us to choose our favorite color palette, and our best paint brushes. In essence, we begin to own our lives, rebuke victimization, and create a brand-new canvas of possibilities.

So what is my story? Pain healed my family. A mother who was not speaking to her son. Siblings who felt betrayed by their parents. And a crisis created by cancer that ironically turned everything around. Turmoil has a way of either tearing things down—or in my circumstance—building new beginnings. The combination of sibling prayer, the start of parent humility, and a Stage 4 disease that I was determined to stomp in the ground, rescued my family from a destructive road that at the time; we were not sure how it was going to end.

As hard as it is to understand sometimes, devastation can be a remedy for healing. This process starts with acceptance and taking responsibility for whatever part that you have played in the situation – then the truth must be spoken. The narratives that we express about ourselves to others are the medicine that we crave, leading us to ultimate self-awareness and honesty.

Richard Stone, the author of The Healing Art of Storytelling: A Sacred Journey of Personal Discovery, says, “without stories, life becomes a book cover without the pages—nice to look at, but not very fulfilling.” (

According to, the meaning of storytelling “is to give some thought to telling the whole and complete stories of our lives . . . ” It is very common for people to cover-up their complete and true existence. As citizens of the United States, we have seen these maskings over and over again in history and in the present day. Society leads us to believe that lying is acceptable and normal. Although it is very familiar, it definitely shouldn’t be the standard.

It is my belief that to jump-start the healing process, as individuals we have to shift our way of thinking and re-train how we exist in this world. Our new reality begins by sharing our ultimate truths. This is how we cure our sick realism; this is how we exhale our deepest breath.

Zelda Corona is a business and life coach under her company Victory Vision Business Ventures, LLC. She co-authored the books No Artificial Ingredients – Reflections Unplugged and Mommy Divas on the Move: 16 Successful Secrets for Mompreneurs. She is a member of Sister Speak, a trilogy of writers who formed in 2010 with a vision of self-expression and a goal of healing. The trio states they are inspired by grace, allowing them to take a genuine position on the struggles and successes of everyday living.

Excellence in Senior Care: What Matters

March 15, 2017

It is inevitable that the majority of us will reach our golden years and have to make choices determining our lifestyle after retirement and beyond. One of the hardest decisions we will have to make is choosing our senior health care provider(s). It is even more difficult when we are shopping for assisted living or nursing home facilities for a loved one who may no longer be able to make decisions on their own. It seems like a daunting task, so where does one begin?

When investigating a senior health care facility, one of the top factors you may want to explore is a facility’s staffing turnover rate. High staff turnover is a key indicator that things may not be all that well in paradise. The unfortunate statistic is that health care industry staff turnover is as high as 75 percent in most facilities. You will want to ask management how long they have been at the helm, how long does the average staffer stay at their facility; and are there programs available by the facility for staff to upgrade their education or professional career experience. During our own search, we found only a few facilities that had less than 25 percent or lower in staff turnover. This is important to consistent care for the patients and residents who rely on the services others provide. High employee turnover will usually reflect in a higher cost for the consumer.

Another indicator that’ll let you know if you have chosen the right facility is the facility’s record of state inspections. These records will tell the story whether a facility honors standards that are in place to protect patients and residents. Most states’ inspections result in an average of 10 infractions or violations. Facilities that have a trend of posting higher amounts of infractions on a regular basis are facilities you may want to think twice about entering. There are only a few facilities that have demonstrated low amount of infractions (under five per inspection). These are facilities that respect and value their patients.

One of the highest risks to be aware of in any health care facility is infection control. One of the leading causes of death in hospitals and nursing homes is from infections that are spread from staffers and visitors from the outside. Some medical centers and senior health care facilities have strict policies for their staff and for visiting family members, relating to infection and illness control. Some facilities will not allow employees to return to work until after a 48-hour period. If symptoms continue, then the employee must seek medical attention and be cleared by a doctor before returning to work. Ask to see a facility’s infection control rules for more details. It will be helpful for you to understand these rules, thus not becoming part of the problem, and refrain from entering the facility if you are sick.

A quality assisted living or nursing home will also understand that mobility is life, and with age comes declining physical abilities. A facility dedicated to total patient care will have a well-crafted regiment to service residents in need of extra attention. Most patient facilities are now retrofitted with the required equipment to serve persons of disabilities in every room. Ask for a free tour and an opportunity to inspect the buildings and grounds. If services and facilities are lacking handicap access, wheelchair access, or hand and arm rails, you may want to continue your search. Also, ask about their nursing rehab programs; how many times a day someone checks in on a patient, or what the protocol is for handling a patient who has become confined to a bed.

Senior health care facilities that do not utilize patient sedation via drugs to control a patient’s behavior will most likely have a better system in place for quality care. A facility that institutes tender and gentle personal interventions to calm patients will have more active residents who may be more social than their counterparts who receive chemical intervention. Medications are a part of elder care, but they should not be the first line of defense in helping a person control their emotions or behavior.

Now that you are retired and may need medical assistance as part of your lifestyle, it does not mean you have to stop doing everything you enjoy. Most facilities will also have an activities director, or some position equivalent, whom is responsible for keeping residents entertained. Check to see what the schedule of events may be, both on and off-campus. If they do not provide off-campus activities, do they bring people in from the community for social engagements? Do they have opportunities for seniors who may be in much better health and have not lost their ability to be mobile to volunteer for projects on campus? Find out what activities a facility may offer if this is important to you.

Does the facility foster a culture of wellness? Or is it just a place that houses old people until it is time for them to expire? Senior health care facilities that promote wellness will have a strict code of ethics and a creed dedicated to patient care. The kitchen is important. Do they plan for the best nutritional combinations within their meal planning? Is there fitness and exercise equipment? Are the practices and culture devoted to one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health by promoting best industry practices? These are additional factors to consider.

Cost and operational efficiency also plays a role in proving excellence in senior health care. A facility that pays attention to strict enforcement protocols, institutes preventive maintenance, and promotes an environment of health will have much lower price tag than corporate facilities that have tendency to waste valuable resources not dedicated to patient care. All costs are eventually passed along to the consumer. There is a balance between price and quality, and as our report found, you can still offer quality services for a lower price tag if the management of the facility operates the senior health care center like a well-oiled machine. This is extremely important for baby boomers who are watching their dollars during life after retirement.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. He is also a career entrepreneur and currently the CEO/President of Extreme Energy Solutions Inc., a green tech company located in Sparta, New Jersey. Samuel K. Burlum lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in a number of areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also Author of the books The Race to Protect our Most Important Natural Resource and Life in the Green Lane- in Pursuit of the American Dream.


Why Main Street Matters-Buy Local!

March 7, 2017

For generations, small family-owned businesses on Main Street were the lifeblood of local economies in most corners of America. They provided local jobs, accounted for majority of the ratable tax base, and they were usually the first entities to contribute financial resources to causes within the community. In recent decades, we have seen the disappearance of healthy Main Streets across our nation. Gone by the wayside have been the family-owned enterprises, where someday, a son or daughter would take over the store, continuing the family tradition as the go-to local merchant. In their place, we have watched the explosion of the big box retailer, run by corporate executive teams who have no connection to the community. These corporations usually redistribute their gathered wealth via Wall Street, leaving Main Street to fend for itself.

Main Street matters more than ever before. There are still some holdouts in small towns across America, where small businesses are keeping the American dream alive, and they need your support. These are the businesses which survived the crushing blows of big box store competition and/or they are specialty businesses that serve the residents of bedroom communities, which cannot be replaced due to the unique services they provide. So here is why you need to support Main Street and why it matters:

The small business located on Main Street might be owned and operated by a member of your family, a friend, neighbor, or someone who resides within the community. Chances are that the small business owned by a local resident relies on other local residents to patronize their establishment. There is the old saying that charity begins at home. Charity does not mean a hand out, however in this case it does mean making those small sacrifices that make all the difference in someone else’s life. Yes, you might pay a few extra bucks for that pair of jeans or for that appliance, but you are contributing and investing into the success of someone you might know locally, who in turn understands the value of being a positive influence in the community in which they do business.

Small businesses provide an income to municipalities. Each local store front or small manufacturing facility pays taxes, a lot of taxes, without drawing on the essential services provided to homeowners. Since business properties are zoned commercial or income-producing, they are assessed at a much higher rate than homes. With more ratable properties contributing to school taxes, school districts have more resources to provide a better education for the residents’ children. When there is a successful Main Street, usually demand to be a resident of that community is higher, thus driving up property values. Businesses must pay for their own garbage removal; they do not require additional law enforcement nor fire to support their existence. Local municipalities look to offset home property-tax-revenue with ratable property-tax-revenue. This creates a balance so that essential services can be provided to the community without over-taxing every homeowner.

A thriving Main Street denotes a thriving community. An empty shelf never sells anything, and that can be applied to storefronts and property values. If you have ever driven through a small town which had multiple thriving businesses, chances are you were more tempted to stop, take a look around and spend a few bucks. Success breeds success, and people usually want to live and work in an environment where examples of true professionalism and caring can be experienced. A thriving Main Street can provide that experience.

Small business owners are essential to good municipal leadership. They are the first to feel the impact of local ordinances and statutes that affect property zoning and uses, and they have the best insight as to the potential threat or protection such ordinances offer. They are always the first to question local authorities about a business’ right to free enterprise. Business owners can be counted on to voice their opinion on local political issues and are the most interested in preserving the community’s culture. They are the most well-educated about past governance and the historic mistakes made by poor leadership, and they are most willing to contest cumbersome local statutes that create a burden on the community.

In many cases, they put their money where their mouth is by becoming a part of the local political landscape as committee or town council members. Their motivation often stems from an experience in which they feel the business community is being abused by elected officials who are not responsible for paying the price of burdensome policy. The harmonious relationship, or lack thereof, between local government and small businesses will make or break a community.

Small businesses account for fifty percent of job creation in the United States. Most small businesses may have fewer than five employees and usually employ people they know; friends, family, neighbors, or folks recommended to them by a close trusted party. Small businesses are usually the first to invest into the local workforce. Small businesses may not always be in a position to provide the same perks as a major corporation, however most small businesses will accommodate a schedule of a local employee if they need time off to care for a child at home, or school, or a local event. Sometimes the local small business owner may also own a home and have children in the school system or be a coach of a local sports team in town, so they understand the importance of life beyond business. Many become iconic employers for generations of teens getting their first job.

A small business strives to be a positive influence in the community, and therefore usually are the first to donate resources to become the sponsor of a local little league baseball team or football team. Many small business owners understand the importance of giving back, so they may volunteer to help a local nonprofit cause and may donate money to that cause. Business owners may be spotted cleaning their storefront windows, sweeping their sidewalks and speaking with local patrons to ensure customer satisfaction. Small business owners usually accept the idea of self-responsibility and to be of service to the community in which they call home. These business owners may be the volunteers that make up your local fire department or first aid squad, and will close their door in aiding a situation when duty calls.

Main Street entrepreneurs know the importance of reinvesting in their properties and in the community. A local business’ economic growth is only as successful as the residents and community around them. Small businesses on Main Street have been known to reinvest part of their money into the upkeep of their building, or will take lead on a local project that enhances the value of the community. They make their money locally and usually will spend their money locally, thus keeping part of those earnings cycled within the community. They will patron other local businesses in the hopes of creating a network of local commercial clients in addition to local patrons.

Small businesses are a symbol of American free enterprise. They represent the local resident who was willing to put at risk their assets or wealth, put forth all of their own efforts in creating an opportunity for themselves and others, on their own hard work and merits. Rarely do you find the local business capitalizing on property tax credits or grant incentives from government programs. They have to be creative, innovative, and rely on their reputation for offering the best product and/or service they can to their clientele. Small businesses commit to the success of their own enterprises and assume the additional responsibility to see that Main Street succeeds. In many cases they put people before profit.

In order to protect the American free enterprise system, we must support Main Street. If we are to desire a handle on out-of-control property taxes, we must encourage local entrepreneurs to invest into Main Street. If we want more of a choice as to where to spend our consumer dollars besides big box stores, then as a community, we must adopt the culture of shopping locally. In turn we must extend the olive branch to the local entrepreneur and provide the pre-existing conditions necessary for the small business to realize opportunity and success. If we don’t, it may be then end of Main Street as we know it, and Main Street will be as extinct as the dinosaur. Once it is gone, it can never be brought back to life.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. He is also a career entrepreneur and currently the CEO/President of Extreme Energy Solutions Inc., a green tech company located in Sparta, New Jersey. Samuel K. Burlum lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in a number of areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is also Author of the books The Race to Protect our Most Important Natural Resource and Life in the Green Lane- in Pursuit of the American Dream.

What the Frack, Again?

March 3, 2017

And this three year-old debate continues moving toward spring of 2017. Rallies organized by nonprofit organizations and community activist groups send their out their cries to the residents of New Jersey and to the neighbors across the river in New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania to protest the controversial practice of hydro-fracking for petroleum fossil fuel sources.

A number of residents, nonprofit group leaders, community activist, and individuals that stand up for environmental justice organized in sharing their discontent for fracking, presented to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC); at the Washington Crossing State Park, this past February 2017.

To date, it is one of the largest collaborative efforts by grass-roots organizations and residents to restate their position against the practice of fracking for petro dollars.

This argument and debate of fracking is still alive and well.  Head of one of the largest multinational oil and gas companies in the world, Exxon Mobil’s then CEO Rex Tillerson, who was one of the most outspoken industry leaders on the practice of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, joined a lawsuit to stop construction of facilities that are commonplace to a fracking operation near his homestead in Texas.

It is interesting, since Exxon Mobil is one of the leading companies in the oil and gas industry who has adopted the practice of fracking which is a practice that most associate the recent resurgence and rise of the energy industry in America.  So I have to ask “what the frack?”

Fracking has become not just a hotbed topic pitting public policy against large oil and gas companies who look to capitalize on their investment into technology which has allowed fracking to be a viable way to mine oil and gas from deep underground in hard to extract places such as from shale, sandstones, and lime stones. The economic boom that fracking has driven even has had an effect on local communities, neighbor fighting with neighbor, over individuals who wish to cash in on their unearthed treasurer against those who value the importance of environmental preservation of the most precious natural resource that is used as a part of the practice and effected by the very practice—water. This practice is also responsible for the “oil boom” that has taken place in the Dakotas; another place of hot contention related to fracking.

As you drive through New York’s Sullivan County, beyond the stretch of road known as Hawk’s Nest, there are the visual reminders that the argument is alive and well.  Signs that read “No Fracking” inside a circle with a strike through it are present along the mouths of driveways of private properties which line Route 97, a major thoroughfare that runs along the Delaware River, just outside the Port Jervis, New York area. In opposite fashion, are the outpost and sight of testing rigs, survey teams, and oil and gas pipeline workers ready to make hay even when the sun is not shining.  This is also a common sight in Bainbridge, New York, in the county of Chenango, which is a town located along the Susquehanna River. Both regions are at the center of debate, for they contain two very valuable natural resources—natural gas energy deposits and fresh clean drinking water.

New York Governor Cuomo has come under fire for not taking a final position on the matter. New York State has been forced to address the issue, as pro-fracking landowners filed suit in February 2014 against the Governor’s office, requesting the state to wrap up its official study it began in 2008 under the supervision of the Department of Environmental Conservation. The Department of Health began its own study in 2012 and has not yet released its findings about concerns that address the practices effect on clean drinking water. The complaint named both departments accountable in their argument.

In 2013, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation that was aimed to ban the processing and disposal of leftover fracking material in New Jersey.  Environmental activist gathered in protest before the statehouse to voice their displeasure of the governor’s action not to further protect New Jersey from the toxic material. This created a major outcry from environmental advocacy groups who have already seen New Jersey become a state who holds the record for having the most environmental superfund sites in the nation. Opponents of the fracking practice note that there are no current technologies which are currently available to refine the waste product that separates the chemicals from the fresh water base used as a part of the fracking process.

In 2011 and 2012, the New Jersey Legislature passed bills on the fracking practice, later conditionally vetoed by Governor Chris Christie who also shot down legislation that would ban the overall fracking practice on New Jersey soil citing that there is no available land to frack in New Jersey. This would face great debate again in 2013-2014.

Later, Larry Ragonese, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection would later share that, “there in fact might be minute areas where under the Utica shale that might contain significant deposits of natural gas. These deposits are to known to be found mainly under the land in Upper Passaic County, Sussex County and Warren County; counties which rely on agriculture tourism for the majority of their local seasonal revenue.” These are also counties that supply much of the basin that makes up the fresh water supply that is managed by the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation; an authority responsible for managing and delivering fresh drinking water to selected metro areas of the state.

On a national stage, land owners who wish to preserve the natural beauty and natural resources that either lie underground of their property and/or under neighboring properties have utilized every mechanism available to deter others from the practice.  From lawsuits and temporary injunctions and restraining orders to large protest and acts of civil disobedience, opponents to franking have made their voice well-known.

David Pringle, Campaign Director for the Clean Water Action, New Jersey Chapter, (formally the New Jersey Environmental Federation); has been on the forefront of this National Debate adding, “Fracking is not a bridge to the future, it’s a direction off the cliff. Most people think that fracking is a cleaner alternative than coal, when in fact studies show otherwise.”

“Fossil fuels harvested from fracking are massive contributors to climate change.  There is the heightened concern of how to handle and treat all of the waste water that is by-product of the fracking process. Sites in which fracking has occurred, have become hazmat waste sites, playing host to now-contaminated water, and introduces the new exposure of toxins to humans that may otherwise we would not have exposure to. The fracking process brings these toxins to the surface such as radon, carcinogens, heavy metals, and other materials which are radioactive in nature and mix with water around with these sites,” continued Pringle.

“Along with these concerns, the fracking process has shown to contribute to earthquake activity where it did not formally exist. We now have multiple issues to tackle with fracking: we have a drinking water issue, a public safety issue, and an issue that affects the weather, especially in the northeast where we experienced more super storm activity.”

And it is so, a riddle still unanswered, to frack or not to frack, is the question. Sometimes it is not all that hard to understand.  In many cases in the past in the energy and power industry, industry has won in many cases over the ideals of environmental preservation.

Many smaller companies have blossomed as a result of the practice becoming standard in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and North Dakota, are aiding in local and regional job creation. The argument propels beyond just the debate about the production and effects underground but also how it will affect those who work above it.  It’s not just the boom of smaller energy and drilling firms that have found a niche in the new black gold rush, but also all of the supporting businesses that are necessary to support the practice. No one wants to lay claim to say that you have to put an end to job creation in an era when our nation faces some of its highest unemployment numbers in history.

Mr. Pringle offered this, “We need to recognize and execute renewables which are better for the economy, since they have been proven to create jobs and mitigate the climate crisis. Major moves such as the passing of S1041 which cites the ban on waste water disposal from fracking in New Jersey is a step in the right direction.  We are looking forward to its support and passing in the Assembly.”

The Bill, S1041, was passed in the New Jersey state senate, with a 33-5 vote, on May 12, 2014; which prohibits the disposal of fracking waste in the Garden State.  Hopes are high for the identical sister Bill in (Bill # A2108) to pass in the State Assembly.

No matter what side of the debate you are on, there is no denying that the issue of fracking will be a very contentious public debate for decades to come. I will keep my ear to the ground and eyes open to both sides of this public contest for its going to be a long time before it’s over.

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy, and public policy concerns. He is also a career entrepreneur who currently is the CEO/President of Extreme Energy Solutions Inc. a green tech company located in Sparta, New Jersey. Samuel K. Burlum lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in a number of areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management, and systems integration. He is the author of the books, The Race to Protect our Most Important Natural Resource, and Life in the Green Lane- in Pursuit of the American Dream.

Being an Employee VS Owning Your Own Business

February 8, 2017

Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint at heart, as it can definitely be both an investing and sobering experience.

A friend of mine made the decision to leave her lucrative position as an IT professional and start an online consulting business. Don’t get me wrong: this was not a willy-nilly decision and she did her homework. She is very talented and I would even consider her to be a master-networker. After making this commitment for about eight months, she decided that being a full-time business owner was not for her. For sure, eight months is not very long, but when speaking to her about why she wanted to transition back to being an employee, these were some of the comments that she made:

  • “When employers would “brag” about their benefit’s package, I would think to myself – Okay, you are supposed to offer health insurance, dental insurance, or what have you, I never realized that having health insurance was truly a benefit.”
  • “I never thought I would have to work so hard. If I am not consistently working to promote my business, I am not making money.”
  • “Owning my own business is not as easy as I thought it would be. What I learned is that I can’t be a full-time business owner. Being a part-time business owner is better for me, because I need to rely on a consistent check.”

Although my friend had the best intentions, from my experience, there were a few things that she did not consider; her employee work ethics were very similar to her business-owner work ethics. So let me explain:

  • Accountability – If you are a person who needs the motivation of a boss to hold you accountable for progress, then owning your own business may not be for you.
  • Work-Time – If you prefer to clock in at a certain time and clock out by a certain time, you may want to reconsider being an entrepreneur.
  • Motivator – If you are typically not the motivator of the group, but the one who needs to be motivated, business ownership may not be for you.
  • Consistency – If you prefer to get paid every week or bi-weekly on the same day of the week, heads up, think about transitioning completely to a full-time business owner—this may not be your calling.
  • People Manager – If you have a hard time accepting criticism and working with diverse personality types, it is imperative that you reflect on why you feel entrepreneurship is for you.

Now, do not get me wrong: if it is your dream to own your own business, I am definitely not trying to discourse your vision. My goal is to promote self-awareness.

So moving forward, it is my advice that you not only do your due diligence regarding the type of business that you want to own, but it is just as critical to perform a self-reflection before you decide to make that leap. I transitioned to owning my own business after working at the same health care organization for 25 years. Since leaving my job approximately three years ago, I have had my ups and my downs as a business owner, but what I can say for sure is that the experience has made me empowered and humbled to be able to build my new legacy.

Zelda Corona is a business and life coach under her company Victory Vision Business Ventures, LLC. She co-authored the books No Artificial Ingredients – Reflections Unplugged and Mommy Divas on the Move: 16 Successful Secrets for Mompreneurs. She is a member of Sister Speak, a trilogy of writers who formed in 2010 with a vision of self-expression and a goal of healing. The trio states they are inspired by grace, allowing them to take a genuine position on the struggles and successes of everyday living.

The Healing Power of Hot Toddies

January 30, 2017

A stroll through a big-box drugstore reveals overwhelming choices for consumers seeking relief from colds, the flu, aches, and insomnia. Yet there was a time in the not too distant past when home remedies were often used to ward off colds, improve sleep, and relieve body aches. While some home remedies fell into the ineffective old wives tale category, many more had actually achieved the cure that grandma or grandpa promised and are still used and trusted today—without the potentially harmful synthetic ingredients and side effects commonly experienced from over-the-counter medicine or pharmaceutical drugs.

Take hot toddies. Herbal teas, lemon, and honey are the perfect antiviral combination to help clear congestion. Adding shot of whiskey, bourbon, or gin has a calming affect and can help one relax and sleep better (just don’t overdo it!). Both conventional and holistic practitioners will concur that sleep is ultimately the best medicine to recharge the immune system, thus fighting off viruses. The warm, aromatic steam from a hot toddy also soothes membranes and gives a cozy, comforting feeling, especially on a chilly winter night.

Here are a couple of my favorite recipes for hot toddies. So drink to your health, and stay warm and well this winter.

Soothing Sage

This hot toddy contains sage, which has cleansing, antiseptic properties, as well as a pleasant aroma. Lemon and honey adds antiviral benefits and a great flavor.

Place 2 Tbsp. of chopped, fresh sage into a tea ball infuser and steep in 8 ounces of boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove tea ball from sage tea and stir in a shot of Jim Beam or other good quality or local craft distilled whiskey, 1 Tbsp. raw or locally sourced honey, and 2 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Save a lemon wedge or cinnamon stick for garnish. Stir and drink.

Minty Goodness

Thyme has been known to soothe headaches and bronchial inflammation, and mint can aid and calm the digestive system.

Chop 2 Tbsp. of fresh thyme and 2 Tbsp. fresh spearmint and place into a tea ball infuser. Steep along with 1 peppermint tea bag in 8 ounces boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove tea ball and tea bag from mint tea and stir in a shot of good quality or local craft distilled gin and 1 Tbsp. raw or locally sourced honey. Garnish with mint sprigs and drink.

Recipes adapted from BUST “Drink to Your Health,” Oct./Nov. 2009 issue

Sheila Julson is a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine