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November Digest


A Note From Marilyn

Gratitude-All Year Around

Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” —Jim Rohn.

As we prepare for the Thanksgiving Holiday season, the feelings of Gratitude, Thankfulness, Appreciation, and Acknowledgement come to my mind. In our busy lives, taking time to practice “Gratitude” for all that we have, all that we enjoy and experience can be lost in the 24/7 onslaught of our jobs,   family duties, and daily goals.

 Have you taken time in the early mornings or late evenings to quietly review your day looking ahead or behind at your day and say to yourself, “Wow!  I am so grateful to be able to pursue today with passion and my purpose to…. (fill in the blanks)! 

Or I am thankful that the bank/post office/or my company was there to support me in my time of need. How many of us, will take a challenging experience and re-tell the tale to everyone that will hear it over and over again, with more negative emotion each time? Be honest…

What if we take each event, whether positive or negative and respond with a gracious and grateful heart. Just imagine how that may make you feel and the energy that it will give you. The way we respond to any event will always impact the eventual outcome that we feel or experience.

Take time to “smell the roses” each and every day.   Gratitude can increase your satisfaction, happiness and reduce stress in your life. Take a step and try it!

Best wishes and Let’s Talk!



Stay in Touch

With cell phones, e-mail, video chats, and social media, you’d think it would be easier for people to connect and stay in touch than ever before.

Seasonal work with the National Park Service

However, ongoing research has found that people in America have smaller support networks and fewer confidants than they did just two decades ago. This may be one reason for an upswing in loneliness and social isolation. A 2011 study sponsored by the AARP found that 35% of Americans over age 45 are lonely. 

Why are people lonely?

Experts say there are many reasons people become lonely and disconnected from their friends and families. Some of the most common reasons include: 

  • Loss of a loved one. The death of a spouse, close relative, or good friend is strongly correlated to loneliness and isolation. For many people, their spouse is their primary confidant.
  • Caregiving. The number of people providing care for family or friends has increased significantly in recent years. Caregiving is often a solitary occupation and caregivers often become lonely.
  • Lack of transportation. Isolation can result from a lack of transportation. It is difficult to visit friends or attend community and social events without a car or access to good public transportation.
  • Technology. Research is unclear about whether technology contributes to or prevents loneliness. Some studies suggest people who use technology remain more socially active; others postulate that technology weakens social connections. 

Loneliness is bad for your health

According to John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of    Chicago and author of the book Loneliness, the human need for  social connection is so important that without it people break down at a cellular level, becoming highly vulnerable to disease and other ailments. Other research supports his findings. Loneliness is believed to be as bad as for your health as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and high blood pressure. It has also been tied to issues related to learning and memory. 

Finding a remedy

The only remedy for loneliness is to become more social. According to Cacioppo, the first step is to acknowledge loneliness and take actions to  reconnect socially. These may include doing volunteer work, joining a book club, becoming a docent, or engaging in other activities that offer opportunities to interact and cultivate friendships.


Overcoming loneliness is not easy. It can be challenging for people who have become isolated to remain optimistic or expect the best from others. If members of your family or community have become isolated, and you suspect they may be lonely, reach out and help them reconnect. It could make the New Year far more rewarding.


Tasty Soup

Nothing tastes better than a bowl of hot soup. Try this recipe for mushroom soup.

Mushroom Soup

Dried wild mushrooms
Olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
Fresh thyme leaves (no stems)
3 cups mushrooms (any variety), cleaned and sliced
32 ounces chicken stock
Sea salt
Black pepper
Fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Soak the dried wild mushrooms in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Put a large soup pot over high heat. Add the olive oil, butter, garlic, onion, and thyme leaves. Cook until onions are soft. Add the mushrooms. When mushrooms begin to release juice, chop the rehydrated wild mushrooms and add them to the pot along with the liquid they soaked in.

Cook for about 15 more minutes. Add chicken stock, sea salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. If you want a creamier soup, puree it in a mixer. Just make sure the centerpiece of the mixer lid has been removed to release steam. Garnish with parsley leaves.

What Do You Know About Black Holes?

Black holes are so powerful that not even light can escape them.

According to, recent research has raised interesting questions about the evolution of black holes and their relationships to galaxies. Test your knowledge of black holes with this brief quiz.

  1. General relativity suggests that black holes have:

a. Infinite volume

b. Infinite mass

c. Infinite density

d. None of the above


  1. When a star dies, it may become a black hole if it has:

a. Half the mass of the sun

b. Three times the mass of the sun

c. Three times the mass of Venus

d. Half the mass of Venus


  1. Where are black holes generally found?

a. In galaxies

b. In wormholes

c. In stars

c. In moons


  1. Which came first: galaxies or black holes?

a. Galaxies

b. Black holes

c. Scientists are not sure

d. None of the above


Quiz Answers:

1. C – Infinite density.
2. B – Three times the mass of the sun.
3. A – In galaxies.
4. C – Scientists are not sure. Some studies suggested that black holes grew and evolved as galaxies grew and evolved. However, recent discoveries of massive black holes in small galaxies have scientists questioning that idea.


The Revolution in Games

Many of us grew up playing Monopoly, Scrabble, Checkers, Tripoli, cards, and other games whenever friends and family got together.

”Leatherman commented, “My love of sand began as a child. My parents had the notion that if one neighbor has a basketball hoop and another a treehouse, then my family should also have an attraction for the

neighborhood kids. I had the biggest backyard sandbox in Charlotte, North Carolina. I loved it. Every year I opted for a beach vacation to play in the world’s largest sandbox and frolic in the surf.”8 

It was a great way for multiple generations to interact and get to know each other better. 

Today, some young people embrace board games, but many prefer video games. If you want to stay connected to them, it’s a good idea to become familiar with some of the electronic games available. Here are a few fun, interactive games to play on your smart phone or tablet with kids, grandkids, or even friends. (Some are free, some cost a few dollars.) 

Words with Friends is similar to Scrabble. Players take turns building words on a board. A key difference is that the game determines whether the words you play are acceptable. You can play up to 20 games at once. All ages. ( 

Pocket Legends lets you choose an avatar (eagle, elf, or bear) and a campaign, and then work with others to help the elf queen of Alterra save her kingdom. You can create your own fantasy adventure and secure it with a password so only friends and family can play. ( 

Scribblenauts Remix encourages creativity. Players are presented with a problem and they decide how to solve it. For example, how would you get a star from the top of a tree? Would you chop it down? Climb it? Employ a giant rainbow beaver? This game is best for older children, although younger ones can play if parents and grandparents help with spelling and typing. (


Worth Quick Tip: Serving

It’s taken me many years to truly understand the concept of service to others. I have mouthed the words and provided service to friends, community, and family, but somehow missed the emotionality of the actual deed(s). Or it was a fleeting moment of “goodness,” as I prepared for the next big thing or project at work. I now take each day and make sure I do one thing that provides a service to someone lse, to make their day a better one.

Service to others is the rent you pay for the room while on earth.”

Mohammed Ali 

“Helping people doesn’t have to be an unsound financial strategy.”

Melinda Gates


Savvy Women Fall Social Summit

We were so pleased to host a full house for this past  October’s Savvy Women  Social Summit at Blackhawk Country Club. Our agenda was multifaceted as always including two women running for public office:  Assemblywoman Catharine Baker and Deputy Superintendent of Schools-Contra Costa County - Ms. Lynn Mackey,  who were both informative and inspirational as they shared their journey to serve us in the public sector. 

In addition, we were delighted to hear Traci Engle, speaker, author, and entrepreneur,  share her story about how she battled cancer last year and learned the power of unconditional love and friendship.  She encouraged all of us to take time to Play, Laugh, and Love as we live our lives.  We also love to highlight Savvy Entrepreneurs and people who are making a difference in the community. We were pleased to introduce: Hedda Adler, Speaker, Author, Founder of Ageless Living; Dr. Razia Iqbal-Founder of Bridges Family Care; and Craig Kirkpatrick, Founder, Orinda Asset Management and Leader/Volunteer for Students Rising Above-a nonprofit that support low-income youth to achieve college educations.

Our mission is to provide a place for women to come together to Dream Bigger; Dream Bolder; Be Brighter as they take

 The above material was prepared by Peak Advisor Alliance. 1_129758