Author Archives: Sherry Kronenfeld

Life Changing Character Story

be-an-optimist

I found this the below article and had to share it with everyone – I think the story makes it really clear for our kids to understand and see why surrounding yourself with positivity and optimism in life, is so important.

– Stephanie

Life Changing Character Story
Author: Dr. Anthony Fernando

A new teacher stood at the front of his classroom preparing for another battle.

He glanced at the students as they filed into class – Worn out sneakers, shirts untucked, shoulders slumped. What could his English class give these kids that would help them with the problems they faced in the real world?

He had tried reaching out to them and he knew that he’d failed, but today he was going to try a different approach.

“OK everyone, grab a seat and listen up! “Today we’re going to talk about the nature of character. So… Damon, what does character mean to you?”

The heavyset boy in the second row shifted in his seat uncomfortably before replying, “Umm, character is the people in a story?”

“You’re right Damon, characters are the people in a story, but the nature of character goes much deeper than that. Let me show you something.” James lifted two plastic trays up on to his desk so that everyone in the class could see them. In each tray sat a large sponge. He then produced two glass jugs. The first contained clear water and the second contained dark brown drain water.

The young teacher poured the clear water into the first tray and the brown water into the second tray. “OK, who can tell me what’s happening here?”

“The sponges are soaking up the water?” replied the usually quiet Sharon.

“That’s right Sharon, the sponges are soaking up the water that surrounds them. “And that’s exactly how we develop our sense of character. We absorb the ideas of the people around us just like these sponges soak up the water. “If we surround ourselves with supportive, optimistic people we gradually develop a positive character,” said the young teacher indicating the tray containing the clean water.

He then motioned towards the second tray. “On the other hand, if we continually associate with pessimistic and cynical people, we gradually develop a negative character.”

James paused and noticed that the background chatter that usually filled the class was absent.

“Now what happens when I take the sponges out of the water?” he asked as he lifted up the sponges, one in each hand.

The class looked puzzled.

“How do they look?” prompted James.

“They look the same to me” said Damon and the class responded with a ripple of laughter.

“You’re right Damon, they do look the same on the outside, but there’s one important difference. “Watch what happens when I squeeze the sponges.” James squeezed the first sponge and clear water flowed back into the tray. He then squeezed the second sponge and released a steady stream of dark liquid.

“You see, even when I remove the sponges from their trays, they still carry their water with them. Its only when I squeeze the sponges that we can really see what’s inside them.

“The same thing happens with us,” continued James, “When we leave our familiar environment, we still carry our character inside us and when life puts us under pressure, our true character emerges from within.”

Today I’d like to encourage you to take Mr Glover’s lesson on board. Make the decision to spend your time with motivated, optimistic people. By doing this you will gradually soak up the thoughts and ideas necessary to develop a positive character. And when the time comes and life puts you under pressure, you’ll be able to draw upon this reservoir and your true character will emerge from within.

 

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Preparation & Diligence

children-in-snow

“Preparation is not suddenly accomplished; it is a process steadily maintained.”
~ Oswald Chambers

Diligence is about making the right choice, and sustaining these right choices over the course of a lifetime.

Fitness and good health require diligence. We want to play with our children in the snow, shovel our driveways, take brisk walks, and enjoy nature’s simple activities with our loved ones without becoming breathless and tired. In order to maintain our youth and energy over many future years, we stay diligent.

At this time of the year, as our pace quickens, our diligence helps us to continue to create time in each day for ourselves. Fitness is a commitment to health and requires focused energy and effort.

Here’s to continued diligence, strength and stretch with Centerpeace.

Stephanie

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Who turned on the trees?

autumn-in-new-york

The leaves have turned, the air has gotten cooler…

Let’s remember to pause long enough to take in the beauty of fall.

Breathe in all of the colors that surround us during this beautiful time of year.

A moment of nature at it’s best! To life!!!

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Farro is Healthy and Delicious – Learn How to Make Farro Salad

farro

Farro is Healthy and Delicious!

If you have yet to try Farro, now is the time!

Farro is a whole grain that is an excellent source for complex carbohydrates. Additionally, farro has twice  the amount of fiber and protein of modern wheat.  This delicious grain has been found to stimulate the immune system, lower cholesterol and help maintain blood sugar levels. While farro does contain gluten, the gluten molecules are weaker than modern wheat, making it more easily digested.

Here is a simple recipe to introduce you to this new grain!

Farro Salad

* Cook farro according to the directions on the bag.  I undercook it, as I prefer mine with a little bite rather than too soft.

* While farro cooks, saute a chopped shallot until cooked through. Set aside in a bowl.  Then saute two drained cans of chic peas in olive oil for a couple minutes. Set aside in another bowl. Saute a box of spinach and/or arugula in olive oil and again set aside.  Finally saute chopped zucchini.

* When zucchini are cooked, add back the shallots, chic peas and greens.  Mix together and then add farro.

* Stir in one bunch of finely chop parsley, leaves only, no stems.

Dressing

* Whisk together the juice from one lemon, 3 TBS olive oil, salt and pepper.

* Right before serving, drizzle the dressing, toss thoroughly and sprinkle 1/2 cup of parmesean cheese shavings to the top of the salad.

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Positivity: The Positive Pledge

The Positive Pledge

This summer I have spent a great deal of time reading. Ive enjoyed absorbing information from great philosophers which I have found energizes me and teaches me how to live life more fully.

“Count your blessings, kindness counts, broadening and building, dream about your future, apply your strengths, connect with others ,” are just a few of the themes from the book Positivity, by Barbara Fredrickson.

What I learned scientifically is that research shows that positivity prompts cell growth and development and negativity aids in cell decay. Even more enlightening but not surprising is the discovery that the movement of our bodies and the active exercise rituals we create daily accelerate cell renewal both in our body and brain. This cultivated mindset of positivity transforms us for the better emotionally and therefore our bodies respond physically. This special book shows that living a life with positive energy could be life giving.

Jon Gordon, author of “The Energy Bus”, created The Positive Pledge. Daily reminders which improve the quality of our day to day lives. May it speak to you and be helpful in cultivating your own positive pledge. Life is busy for all of us and its pace only seems to get faster. I find each day it takes conscious effort to stay focused and centered on what is really important. I know that there are sacred moments in the ordinary if our hearts are open to it and we make the time to notice those moments. Lets create more positivity together and continue to make each day its best, because we can.

The Positive Pledge
I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me.I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity. When I am surrounded by pessimism I will choose optimism. When I want to hate I will choose love. When I want to be bitter I will choose to get better. When I experience a challenge I will look for opportunity to learn and grow.I pledge to be a positive person and positive influence on my family, friends, co-workers and community.When I experience a set-back I will be resilient. When I meet failure I will fail forward towards future success.I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me. I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it makes everyone around me better. I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges.
When faced with adversity I will find strength.

So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on the world.

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Slowing Down

“When we lack the proper time for the simple pleasures of life…then we have missed the purpose of life” – Ed Hayes

I hope you all enjoyed the quiet last week and were able to slow down a bit and recharge. This week, as we move back into our schedules, let’s be mindful of the speed by which we travel.  Acknowledge that in our quest to accomplish so much throughout the day, there are meaningful moments not to be missed along the way. Moments that if we consciously slowed down we would be able to see, feel and experience.

How can we balance our daily busy lives while remaining coscious and present to the small moments?

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“We let love win, when we let love in”

(Saturday, October 8, 2011)

It was a privilege and a gift for me attend Romemu’s Kol Nidre service last night.  While I am three quarters of the way through the day without food, please forgive any grammatical and spelling errors due to the fact that my brain is hungry and not functioning optimally.  That said, my heart is open and I will do my very best to summarize and share with you Rabbi David Ingber’s most thought provoking, inspiring, heartfelt service. What’s missing from my summary is what my words cannot possibly express: the magic of  an enlightening Kol Nidre, beautiful music, smiling faces all around me, spiritual energy, connection,  dear friends, my husband’s hand, and most importantly a Rabbi who I feel so lucky to have in my life. Your spiritual guidance helps, teaches and inspires me to live each day mindfully and lovingly.  Thank you, Rabbi, from the bottom of my heart.

We made it! Another year! Another chance for confession (Toda and Moda which in Hebrew means I admit confession and wrong doing). Yom Kippur is 25 hours of introspection and soul searching.  Reflection!  “Its when we hold up the IS in our life, against the OUGHT of our life.” As long as we are alive we can do the work of repair and detoxification.  We get to align ourselves appropriately each year between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  “So how will you use this time?”

Rabbi David says, “everyday our lives are confronted in some way with resistance to love.”  It is a choice we make to give love and let love into our lives.  To let love win…..there is tremendous power in kindness, compassion and loving each other.  “Compassion is our most precious quality.”   Though we are all different, compassion is a trait we all possess.  We are born with it.  Some of us use it more than others but it is in us all.  Living compassionate lives enables us to understand, connect, not judge, like and love.  Living compassionate lives enable others to feel good when they are in our presence.

I left Romemu mindful and ready to begin my 25 hours of introspection and reflection feeling very connected to g-d.  You don’t need to be Jewish to reap the benefits of this message.  Just a human being open to being better; open to living with love and compassion daily.  We may not be able to change the world at large but each one of us has the power to change ourselves.  And one by one, we can make the world a better place to be.

“We let love win, when we love in.” David Ingber

I will use these words as a guiding principle in my life today, tomorrow and the year ahead.  May you find this message rich and meaningful.  Share the words with those you love in hopes that this might spark an opening in their lives for more kindness, more compassion and more love. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “We become what we think about all day long.”
Blessings, Stephanie

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Muffins, Memories and Mom!

My mother was always creative with breakfast when I was growing up. She felt it was the most important meal of the day.  Poached eggs, pancakes, cut grapefruits, fresh squeezed orange juice were some of the highlights on our kitchen counter each morning.  

My favorite was a homemade honey bran muffin.  I can remember loving each bite and hearing her reminder of how healthy this high fiber muffin was for my brother and me to enjoy on occasion. While it does have sugar in it, it’s  filled with so many nutritious ingredients as well.

Have fun taking the time to make these and I hope your family enjoys them.
Thanks, Mom for muffins and my childhood memories that I reflect upon so often as I raise Morgan and Brandon. I love you.
Glaze
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoon honey
3 tbl. boiling water

Muffins
3 cups raisins or 3 cups dates, 3 cups prunes pureed in food processor.
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup flax seeds 
1 cup wheat bran
3 cups all purpose flour
2.5 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 teaspoons salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.Make the glaze first and use a brush to coat the bottom and sides of muffin tins generously. (Use all of the glaze)
3. Begin the muffin mix by mixing the fruit, honey and oil until smooth.
4.  Beat in eggs, then buttermilk and bran to mixture.
5. Add flour, baking soda and salt.
6. Beat until just combined
7. Fill tins 3/4 full
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until cooked through
Cool 2 minutes and invert onto a rack for cooling.

Recipe makes 12 muffins.

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Watch my garden grow!

This past March I celebrated turning 40.  My husband built me a garden. A square, completely fenced, where I watch Mother Nature create some of the most delicious produce. Each one of my friends contributed to this gift by giving me the seeds to plant, shovels, gloves, hats, gardening shoes, and even bags for the produce labeled with my name. Only a few months later, my family is eating lettuces, striped zucchini, squashes, cucumbers, a variety of heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, green peppers, and soon, corn!

Happy Summer! Are you growing anything fabulous this summer? If so, please share!

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Heart of Gratitude!

Generally my blog is recipe bound or spiritually based.  This one is a little different.
It’s about me.  Next month marks five years since I was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma.
For those of you who did not know – yes, in my medial right thigh.  A small freckle that grew like an octopus down through my muscle.
It was excised, surrounding hip lymph nodes removed and I am stronger today because I had cancer.  I’m a better person, a better wife and mother. A better friend, teacher and runner.  And not a day goes by where I don’t thank God for my mind’s strength and my body’s health.  My leg sings to me daily and I’ve spent five years trying to find the right recipe for settling the aggravated nerves around the incision cite.  There is no recipe; rather my ache serves as a daily reminder of just how fortunate I am to be living.  I push through and have bought stock in Ben Gay.  Now you know why the studio smells like menthol often.
Doctors say you need five years clear to diminish your chances for recurrence.
I’m here….Five years!
Clean! Strong! Healthy and filled with gratitude.

With love,

Stephanie

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