Your Lessons Become

Our Wisdom

Unleash Your Fantastic55 Potential on YouTube by Heather Thomas

If you have a very specific passion for something you fear nobody else in the world has an interest in besides yourself, buckle up; this is going to be an eye-opener! Have you researched and developed a lifetime of expertise on a seemingly obscure hobby, collection, or subject? If so, it could be time for you to share your knowledge with the world on YouTube; building up a following on this platform can help you generate ad revenue, promote a book you might be interested in writing, or help you sell related merchandise such as t-shirts or collectibles. Here are three case studies that should get your creative juices flowing.

Surely, The Perfect Recipe is in an 18th-Century Cookbook…

James Townsend was fascinated by his grandfather’s stories of life in simpler times. He began a small business in 1973, making or reselling reproduction antique clothing and tools from days gone by. He points out that it was a very slow start in the early days, as there were few others in his community or within his advertising reach that were as interested in this subject as he was. In fact, he started out only advertising to members of muzzle-loading gun clubs as he felt they would be most likely to have an interest in his products.

He joined YouTube in 2008 in his mid-50s and uploaded some of his first videos in 2009, generally centered on re-enactment topics and his dry wit. While he and his family have since made hundreds of videos on various topics including historical sites, historical methods, clothing, and tool use, he found a niche that resonated in a big way once he began producing a YouTube series called “18th Century cooking with Jas. Townsend & Son”. As more and more people became exposed to his videos in their feed, his viewership skyrocketed; today, he has over one million subscribers, and the ability to leverage that support to sell his products and books.

Who Wants to Hear About the Great Depression? Quite a Few People, Actually…

Never underestimate the love people have for their grandparents, even if they don’t call, write, visit or like our Facebook posts. Clara Cannucciari was born in 1915, in Chicago; she spent her childhood and early adulthood surviving the Great Depression. After a lifetime of nourishing her own family with food and stories of a bygone era, her family began cataloging her simple, loving wisdom on video. She became a cherished YouTube sensation at 93 and now has almost a half-million followers on YouTube, along with a glowing network of love and support from those who regularly watch her videos.

Her series, “Great Depression Cooking with: Clara” showcases her gentle humility, resilience, unfailing optimism and kindness in a way that has melted the Internet’s heart. DVDs and Books featuring Clara’s wisdom and recipes, infectious smile and dry quips give people an intimate first-hand glimpse into one of the most difficult periods of American history. Clara’s videos and popularity are proof that quality content doesn’t have to be a scripted, flashy, expensive production; it can come straight from the heart and the kitchen of a humble survivor and be genuinely appreciated by the world.

The Funny Thing About Medieval Hoods Is…

One look at Jason Kingsley’s videos and you might think his content is produced for or by the History Channel, but you’d be wrong; he is an independent hobbyist and simple aficionado of all things Knightly. A successful video game developer by day, he recently parlayed his love of medieval history into a brilliant YouTube channel called Modern History TV; now in his mid-50s, he can boast of over 385,000 YouTube subscribers who are truly fascinated by watching him make his own linen or explain what knights would eat after a hard day’s journey.

As Jason explains in one of many videos, the funny thing about medieval hoods is that you have to fold them if you want to get anything done outside in the cold. What’s amazing about this seemingly commonplace insight is that almost 60,000 people gave this video an enthusiastic thumbs-up, including YouTube user “Linked_Soul”, who commented;

“Me: Ok, I should go to sleep now.
YT: Heres a Video about medival hoods.
Me: Ok just this one Video, cant be this good
Also Me: Proceeds to watch the whole channel after seeing a hood being turned isnide out”

Jason’s videos remind us about the humanity in history, the hardships, the triumphs, and the simple little details historians may often overlook. His attention to this detail brings history to life in the most fascinating, unexpected ways, and the internet cannot get enough.

Don’t Assume Nobody is Interested…

James, Clara, and Jason brought their passion to YouTube in a variety of ways, reaching out to the world with their personality and interests on full display. No matter how mundane you may think your own interests are, chances are good that YouTube can connect you with people who want to hear what you have to say. It doesn’t have to be an expensive production, you don’t have to look like a model, you don’t need jokes like Carol Burnett, and you needn’t worry that nobody will be interested. Share your stories, your passion, your knowledge.

You don’t even need to tie your videos directly into a website, product, or business at first, just develop your niche, keep refining your techniques and message, and upload regular content onto your channel. Make a family recipe, make an owl nesting box, tell a dad joke, tell a story or give your recollections of past events. You might even stumble upon a new seniorpreneur opportunity during this process if you find you have a knack for something you never had time for before. Ready for your closeup?

“Moving out of our Traditional House – Experiences & Lessons Learned” by Brian Greenlee

Relocation & Residential Specialist, Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate

In my 17 years as a Relocation & Residential Specialist at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, I’ve seen many people over the age of 55 move out of their traditional family home. I’ve seen some folks struggle with all of the decisions and I’ve seen others breeze through it.

Those who have a vision of the type of lifestyle they want appear to do the best during this transition. Recently, my wife and I embarked upon our own housing transition. We knew we wanted an involved, active lifestyle at least for the next 30 years!  We chose to go from the suburbs to a popular more urban neighborhood known for its beautiful older homes, central location, walking opportunities, restaurants and retail.

My wife was enthusiastic about moving while I was more reluctant to leave the home where we raised our family. The challenge of rehabbing a nearly 100 year old home was daunting. Then there was adjustment of downsizing. We spent years accumulating “stuff” and had so many decisions that it was difficult to know where to begin.

After looking for nearly a year, we finally found the house with the footprint we were looking for but needed a lot of updating. After a career spent helping others buy and sell homes, being on this side of the process felt much different. Our home sold quickly but with so many updates to electrical, plumbing and gutting the kitchen and master bath, we had to add an interim move and furniture storage to our plans.

This posed a packing challenge. Having to sort through belongings quickly, we used a three-way sorting system: Keep, sell, give/throw away. Did we really need to keep every piece of Kindergarten artwork? How about all the birthday cards or household items we didn’t use but felt guilty putting in the sell or give away pile. We worked closely with our estate sale manager to learn what was valuable and should have special handling. We also took photos of special items we wanted to remember but ultimately decided to sell. We can look back through the photos but aren’t burdened with trying to store the item in our new, smaller home.

There were exciting moments and just as many tearful ones. Walking through our old home once it was empty was hard but we eased the transition by writing a note to the new owners sharing some of our special family memories and wishing them just as many happy times in their new home. It was a therapeutic way to say good-bye to a home filled with memories.

Then we could fully focus on the renovations. We knew there would be unexpected expenses and special items that stretched out budget even with our contingency fund, something every rehab project should include.

We survived the not so perfect timeline and enjoyed designing a home that fits our current lifestyle. There is a feeling of freedom from not owning so much “stuff” and spending our time walking nearby trails and sampling all the nearby restaurants.

We look forward to making new memories in our new home and are happy we made the move.

Inside The Grand Estates on Greenwood

We welcome sponsor The Grand Estates on Greenwood to our ecosphere. Our friends at The Grand Estates on Greenwood located in Olathe, Kansas gave us some inside information on their new 55+ active living community featuring spacious rooms, CONNECT55+ wellness program, green spaces and high-end amenities.(3min)

Fan55: We are hearing about the new Senior Living Community The Grand Estates on Greenwood. Tell us about it…

“I’ve lived here for 2 years and made friends that I’ll have forever. I don’t miss doing maintenance on my home which I didn’t use half the rooms anyway! Plus, I was getting a little lonely. Now, so much is going on especially with the CONNECT55+ program. I love my beautiful apartment. I’m really coming out of my shell!”

“I just moved here 6-months ago from Chicago. My kids live here so it was time to move back. The thing that really stood out to me at The Grand Estates at Greenwood was how friendly and welcoming the residents are. When I toured, they were having a party-everyone was very welcoming and the management was so knowledgeable. The residents talked with me and assured me this is a great place, then they mentioned they play Dominoes every week and THAT sold me. I really enjoy playing Dominoes.”

Fan 55: What type of apartments do you offer?

We offer 1 and 2 bedroom apartment homes that are fully equipped with all stainless steel appliances including stove, microwave, dishwasher, washer, and dryer, spacious closets, open layouts, and beautiful finishes in every home.

Fan55: What amenities are at The Grand Estates on Greenwood?

In addition to our beautiful apartment homes, we have a Theater with recliners and fresh-hot popcorn, Pub Hall, Billiard’s Game Room, Serenity Lounge, Chapel, Library, Large Modern Community Room, Outdoor Patio Deck with an outdoor TV and grilling area, and Fitness Center.

Fan 55: What do your residents tell you over and over again, why they choose The Grand?

The beautiful apartments, great lifestyle program, great amenities, and neighbors that become lifelong friends is what we hear every day why residents love the Grand Estates on Greenwood. Prospective residents can call us at 913-839-2184 or visit our website at The Grand Estates on Greenwood. 

Coping with Isolation at the Holidays

By Heather Thomas

American artists have painted hundreds of snapshots of the Good Life through the decades. From Norman Rockwell’s  “Freedom from Want” to John Holyfield’s “Blessings III”, we see families lovingly sitting down to a plentiful table at the holidays, sharing that special nourishment that comes from fellowship with kin. Yet, this is not a common reality for millions of Americans; family members are too often spread apart, disengaged, or beyond the veil. For those of us facing this reality, the coming holiday season can feel especially imposing, but take heart; this situation also signals our ability to become Angels for those in need.

If you think you’re the only person struggling with loneliness during the holidays, that’s your first mistake. Children, adults, and the elderly are equally affected, and there is simply never enough family love to go around. This makes the holiday season the most important time to mobilize on behalf of friends, family, and strangers alike, and it needn’t cost a great deal of money. The most important gift you can give at the holidays is your time and attention, and this is especially true if your own heart is broken as well.

Get the Gang Together

It’s so difficult to get even a small group of people together, isn’t it? Do you have lifelong friends with busy lives that you hardly ever see? Relatives that have become strangers as the slow march of time pushes you further apart? Chances are good that multiple people in your life also struggle with sadness and depression during the holidays, and you can be the person that reverses this trend for yourself and others.

One good way to get people to come together is with a common purpose that is altruistic in nature. If you haven’t had success meeting friends or family for coffee, coordinating a volunteer effort that appeals to their sense of “Christmas Spirit” could provide the impetus to bring people together. Try to give people a frame of reference for how long the activity will take so they can plan their day accordingly. Local soup kitchens, churches, and shelters can often use volunteers, and this is a fantastic way to bond with those you know and make new friends in the process.

Community bike centers that provide bicycles for children, Toys for Tots or similar organizations that help struggling families provide presents for Christmas, Meals on Wheels for homebound seniors, hospitals, and more can always use volunteers to spread goodwill. If the people you miss haven’t responded to a generic, “Let’s get together sometime”, then you need to set the place and time and get the invite out. Don’t give up if people don’t respond the first time; set the future expectation that you are doing things that they can be part of, and you are bound to get them involved in the future.

Extroverts: Be an Army of One

Even if you’re unable to rally anyone to come with you, bravely venturing into an unknown volunteer opportunity can help you make lasting friendships with kind-hearted, community-minded people. Experiencing the gratitude of a struggling person who felt left behind by society but was warmed by your act of kindness is a life-changing event that can significantly alter your own life and perspective. No matter how old we get, everyone needs the love and encouragement of a parent, and this is something you can provide to strangers in countless volunteer situations.

Children can be especially vulnerable, and for those whose families don’t have many resources, public libraries and community centers can be safe havens where they might temporarily escape an unpleasant home environment. You can volunteer to read stories, make cookies and hot chocolate, coordinate plays or music recitals, or teach children how to do or make something unique.

Our time is valuable beyond measure. Too many people think money is the most valuable resource we have to offer others, but if we never offer money to others, they never reap the benefits and we are branded as “misers”. Yet, the same is true of our time; the more we hoard it to ourselves, the more scrooge-like and unhappy we risk becoming. So, don’t lock yourself away and succumb to sadness at this time of year; look out, see the need in others, and meet it in any way possible. If you need more love and companionship in your life, give it. If you need more friendship in your life, give it. If you need more cheerfulness and laughter in your life, give it.

Introverts: Make a Cheerful Winter Nest

If the thought of crowds or meeting strange people gives you anxiety, there are still important steps to take for your wellbeing. First, make your home as warm and inviting as possible; put energy-efficient warm-toned LED bulbs in all of your lamps and create a comforting ambiance with light to stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder which can compound loneliness and sadness during the winter months. Decorate your home with images and colors that make you happy or fill you with peacefulness, and try cheerful aromas like orange, lemon, and cinnamon.

Then, resolve to curl up with some life-changing books instead of replaying unhealthy thoughts or binge-watching television shows. Don’t go through this season in autopilot-aversion mode, charge into it with empowerment and the will to improve your life.

Seven Important Books to Foster Inner Peace

The Empowerment Dynamic: The Power of TED, by David Emerald

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino (a book of positive daily affirmations)

Sacred Contracts, by Caroline Myss

The Shift: Taking Your Life from Ambition to Meaning, by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach

Three Important Movies to Change Your Perspective

The Shack:

The Shift:

The Secret:

You Are Not Alone

If all else fails and you are in deep emotional trouble, remember that there are people everywhere looking out for you, at all hours of the day and night.

Find an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting:

Find an Al-Anon (support group for family members & friends) Meeting:

Call a Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255,

Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255,

Connect with SAMSHA:

Sending you love, blessings, and warm wishes this holiday season.

Seniorpreneur Startup Funding

Welcome Mickey Parker, COO of Pension Transfer Advisors and CPA to our Fantastic55 ecosphere. Mickey and his firm help Seniorpreneurs start and fund their businesses by leveraging their 401(k) and IRA. Most importantly, this is accomplished without triggering income taxes or early distribution penalties.

Mickey’s clients are located across the United States and he enjoys empowering small business owners by educating them on startup funding. With boomers twice as likely to start a business than Millennials (Kaufmann Foundation), we had to learn more.

Fan55: Mickey, how do you help entrepreneurs?

Mickey: We actually make dreams come true by helping people start a business, buy a business or a franchise, or expand their business by unlocking the value stored in their IRA or 401(k) without taking a loan or paying taxes and early distribution penalties. The plan combines a 501(a) tax-deferred trust with pro-rata, new comparability and safe-harbor 401(k) features. And rest assured, we’ve received favorable letters of determination from the IRS multiple times indicating the plan document satisfies applicable tax-qualification requirements.

Fan55: Here’s Mickey in a short video explaining his work.

Fan55: How does an entrepreneur unlock this capital?

Mickey: There are five basic steps which we explain and help you complete. We provide all the components that you need to get started and no fees are paid until your funding is complete. My clients tell me they appreciate the personalized service they receive.

Fan55: What else should we know about Pension Transfer Advisors?

Mickey: Since 2004, Pension Transfer Advisors, LLC has served hundreds of clients across the United States get startup funding using value stored in their IRA or 401(k). I have a couple of decades (or more!) experience under my belt and have worked with business owners in many different industries.

Our firm is also skilled at helping small business owners offer an affordable 401(k) plan for their employees.

I’ve learned, there is always value in a conversation and all questions are good questions. Your members can check us out at Pension Transfer Advisors or call 800-782-3036.

Where’s Your Beef?

Chris Kovac, founder of River Watch Beef, a family-owned producer of all natural grass fed beef is a friend and a BetaBlox (Entrepreneurial Incubator & Accelator) peer. At Fantastic55, we are doing our best to eat healthy and eat extra protien as Seniors are less efficient at synthesizing amino acids (muscle health).  We knew we had to talk with Chris for the story.

Note: He generously set up a special offer for our local community which appears at the end of this interview.  Here’s what we learned:

Fan55: Chris, why are we hearing about grass fed beef?

Chris:  It is a popular topic recently, in both the news and social media. For a lot of folks, it’s still confusing to know what grass fed beef really is. Also, it can be hard to find all-natural grass fed beef from a reputable source. For people 55+, it’s a superb protein choice.

Fan55: What is Grass Fed Beef?

Chris: There’s a lot of confusion about what “Grass Fed Beef” really means. Wait, don’t cows eat grass? The answer is, it’s complicated. Unfortunately, much of the beef that’s available at the grocery store (and restaurants) is fed a mixture of grass (hay), corn, GMOs, food waste (like Skittles and Twinkies) and other additives.  A vast majority of beef produced in the USA is raised in confined feed yards with thousands of other animals. That’s bad for us, the animals and the planet.

Grass Fed Beef, from reputable sources, is raised differently. Grass fed animals are usually free range; they are free to roam the pasture and eat the most nutritious grasses available. This makes a big difference – the animals are less stressed and also maintain pasture, which is normally not suited for planting crops.

The cows act like a natural lawn mower to maintain the pasture and recycle nutrients back into the soil. Grass fed beef is a sustainable model and better for the environment.

Fan55: Chris, what are the facts? Why is grass fed beef healthier?

Chris: Grass Fed Beef is a healthier alternative to traditional store-bought beef. There have been many studies by the National Institute of Health, Mayo Clinic and many others that highlight the benefits of grass fed beef.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Rich in antioxidant Vitamins (A, B6, B12, D and E)
  • Significant amount of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Great source of important minerals (Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, and more)
  • Great source of lean protein
  • 30% less total fat
  • Cancer fighting CLAs (conjugated linoleic acid), a fatty acid
  • Lower “bad” cholesterol

Fan55: Ok, we understand the beneficial health facts but why is it important to know where the beef comes from?

Chris: It’s important to know where your food comes from, if possible — beware of misleading labels and read the fine print. Some “grass-fed beef” is mislabeled and often comes from a foreign country with fewer regulations.  The current labeling laws can label meat as a “Product of USA” even though it was raised and slaughtered in another country.

If possible, know the source (farmer/producer) of your beef. Sometimes, you can find grass fed beef at the local farmers market or online. However, it’s important to research and verify the producer before you buy.

Fan55: Chris, that’s why we are talking with you today. We want our community to have healthier options.

Chris: We get it. At River Watch Beef, happy cows equal better beef. At this time, we sell and deliver in the Kansas City metro area. As we grow and add selling areas, we’ll keep Fantastic55 in-the-know.

Our family, neighbors and friends work hard to sustainably raise the highest quality grass fed beef, and deliver it to your door in the metro Kansas City area. River Watch Beef is available for delivery, direct from me and my family to you and yours. River Watch Beef is 100% Natural Grass Fed Beef. No additives, GMOs or added hormones. Our premium beef is:

  • Dry Aged 21 Days
  • Minimally Processed
  • USDA Certified
  • Family-owned processer
  • 5-Star Reviews

Fan55: Chris, this information helps us eat “clean.” Thank you for your time!

Chris: I’m happy to have had this chance to talk with your community. And we have a Special Offer on River Watch Beef for Fantastic55 members to Save 10% off their order at RiverWatchBeef.comuse coupon code “fantastic” at checkout. Select from premium steaks, gourmet ground beef, mouth-watering roasts, famous beef jerky and more. Or call us toll-free at (800) 373-5210 if you have any questions, or to place an order. Eat Well and Thank You!

Seniorpreneur Creates a More Enjoyable and Sustainable Future by Bill Smith, founder Sustainable Soils 

It all started with a love of fine cigars. I’ve always admired the history and craftsmanship that goes into many products, and given my background in wine and spirits, it was a short leap to learning all I could about the history of cigars.

I thought it would be fun to grow and cure my own tobacco—not the burley variety that is normally grown in my state, but different large-leaf Cuban varieties. I found a seed source in England and got to work. I also realized that the soil in my containers probably needed to be amended in some way because tobacco is such a heavy feeder. Finding a source online for mineral amendments led me to studying the work of Dr. William A. Albrecht, conducted at the University of Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station in Columbia, Missouri from the 1920s through the early 1960s. Dr. Albrecht was the Chairman of the Department of Soils at the university from 1938 through 1959.

It’s fair to say I don’t do hobbies half way.

The more I learned, the more I realized that I truly loved the possibilities of using this research to build a business that would benefit farmers, gardeners and landscapers…all those with an interest in improving soil, lessening dependence on chemical fertilizer methods, and improving the health of plants, animals, and humans through the production of nutrient-dense food.

In 2014, at the age of 55, I started Sustainable Soils, believing that the key to human health, and the health of all we consume, begins in the soil. Healthy soil means high-quality, nutrient-dense crops and livestock forage.

I’ve seen clients realize the potential of this method and enjoy the tasty results of their efforts. I’ve helped farmers transform underused acreage into productive market gardens and worked with related professionals in agriculture to bring other sustainable products to market. Through it all, I’ve also realized the self-satisfaction that comes from building a better world.

So, get out there and make an impact. What you love to do can improve the world for everyone.

Beyond his work with current clients, Bill brings long-term, extensive experience in both the chemical and wine industries to the table. In addition to his background in quality control and laboratory experience, he has been involved with the wine industry for nearly 15 years and holds the Advanced Certificate with Distinction from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust of London, England. Reach out to Bill and find more information at

“Relationships Require Other-Centeredness”

by Dr. Doug Burford, LPC, EMDR, DMin, Licensed Professional Counselor and Relationship Coach

(See Doug’s video as he introduces our March Blog “How to Master Retirement Relationships“)

We can know everything there is to know about marriage—intellectually—and still wind up with a bad marriage, or even divorced. Information about what makes marriage work isn’t enough. Conversely, people relatively ignorant of academic research and intellectual insights into marriage can have mutually endearing and enduring marriages, regardless of their life circumstances. What makes the difference, then, if not knowledge? It comes down to other-centeredness.

Other-centeredness… is that even a thing? (I have to hyphenate it so my spellcheck doesn’t object.) Yes, it must be a thing, because its opposite—self-centeredness—is a thing. And when it comes to marriage—and nearly all relationships—other-centeredness is THE thing.

Bad behavior that creates or contributes to bad relationships is not mysterious. Bad behavior is simply self-centeredness in motion. Where it comes from is as individualistic as the individuals involved. But whatever its source, and whatever its more legitimate cousins—self-actualization, self-preservation, and self-protection, for example—its focus is on self, not the other. And self-focus (self interest at least, self centeredness perhaps, or selfishness at worst) usually doesn’t feel good in a relationship. It feels less than loving.

Other-centerdness is actually my definition of love. In scripture, the apostle Paul begins his chapter on love by remarking that a person can fathom all mysteries and have all knowledge, but have not love, and thereby be nothing. (1st Corinthians 13:2)  That’s a strong verdict, especially in our culture that idolizes information. Yet, in the world of relationships, nothingness is what becomes of us if there is not love (other-centeredness). Listen for that term under all the words the apostle Paul uses to describe love: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1st Corinthians 13:4-8)

You might have noticed that there is not a self-serving word in the entire list. Everything that Paul commends as love would only be done for the benefit of someone else. After all, why be kind; what’s in it for me? Answer: It’s not about me; it’s about blessing someone else. Why be patient if I’m feeling impatient? Answer: for the sake of another. Why not be a braggart or envy others who have what I can’t have? Answer: Because other-centered love can be happy for others who have what I don’t. And we could go through the entire list this way. The point is, everything love does, it does for the benefit of someone else; that’s what makes it love.

Notice, too, that Paul’s list is devoid of feeling-words. Love is not an emotion. Love is a combination of attitudes and behaviors acted on regardless of how we feel. In fact, often, love is about doing the opposite of what we feel like doing. Love summons self-control so that we are not controlled by what our emotions tell us to do or say. It’s how responsible parents love their children. This understanding of love may not sound very romantic, but it is a relationally safe way of love that is the most solid foundation for romance. Romantic relationships are built upon the foundation of a ratio of “feel-good” to “feel bad” interactions. We are drawn to, and remain drawn to, people who make us feel good. Obviously, being affected by another’s self-centeredness feels bad; being gifted by another’s other-centeredness feels good.

Research by Dr. John Gottman has identified seven principles that undergird successful, mutually satisfying, long-enduring loving relationships. The first of these principles he calls “Love Maps.” A  Love Map is detailed knowledge of a partner’s world. It is familiarity with what is important to one’s partner—their likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, disappointments, fears, anticipations. It is knowing what relaxes our partner, what stresses them, what angers them, what makes them feel supported, etc. It’s good information to know; but, as we noted earlier, knowledge is not enough. Knowing these things about our partner is like knowing French.

What good is it, if we don’t use it? To quote Bob Goff’s book title, “Love does.” Love (other-centeredness) takes what we know about our partner (Gottman’s Love Map) and uses that knowledge to make our spouse feels protected, important, remembered, respected, and honored. It takes our partner’s likes and dislikes; preferences and anticipations, and includes them on our shopping lists, personal calendars, and to-do lists.

Love looks for opportunities and invents ways to use the Love Map to make our partner feel good. Remember doing this when you were dating? It’s what many couples stop doing once they get married, and maybe start doing with someone who isn’t their spouse—their eventual affair partner. Affair partners learn each other’s preferences and build those into their interactions; they remember what is important to each other; they carefully govern their words and go out of their way to speak kindly; they listen and express understanding, rather than arguing their own point of view. In other words, they practice other-centeredness, like husbands and wives used to do when they were dating.

The hope for marriage is the recognition that both partners do indeed have Love Maps. It is further recognizing that partners’ Love Maps are not going to match. That does not spell incompatibility; it spells opportunity to understand what this entirely-other-human-being needs to feel loved. Hint: it won’t be what comes naturally to us. Our partner is not us; they’re them. Other-centeredness learns what feels good to them; love doesn’t insist that they like what feels good to us. Love is about learning a new map. This education will not come from a book. It will take other-centered focus to notice and remember what makes our spouse feel loved, respected, safe, secure, nurtured, supported, honored, comforted, protected, accepted, and liked. It is on the basis of such feelings that a ratio (feel-good to feel bad interactions) will be built that becomes strong enough to feel like love. Love is about knowing our spouse better than does anyone on the planet, and using that knowledge to make our spouse feel all of the things just listed. And to know how to do so better than anyone else on the planet. When our spouse is also—with other-centered love—meeting those same needs for us (but according to our different Love Map), then there is a solid, safe relationship.

Again, other-centeredness is not natural. Self-centeredness is natural (survival of the fittest). It can be a struggle to get beyond ourselves and empathize with someone else. Ideally, we experienced this kind of love from our parents. If so, it’s easier to replicate. If not, then we need a reparative experience or experiences from which to draw. If those experiences don’t come from safe people in our life, then God offers what people might not. That which we may not have been given to us by humans is available to us by the Holy Spirit. For free. The heart that humbles itself to Christ as Lord, and calls out to the Holy Spirit for help, will be graciously given awareness of God’s loving presence within and alongside it, always.

One work of the Holy Spirit is to transform self-centeredness into other-centered love, like the love of God toward us. It was this love that drove him to visit earth, love the unloved, serve like a servant not a king, and die like a criminal so that we wouldn’t have to. That’s other-centeredness. That’s love. It’s what God has in his heart for us, and what he wants to form in our hearts for others. Just ask him for this gift. He will answer and grant you his heart.

“Make your birthday great again”

by Hallie Hudson Peavey, Hallie Hudson Life + Communication Strategies

(3 minute read)

The older I am the more I think about the older I am.

Next week is my birthday. Until a few years ago, the week leading up to this chronological fact was filled with all kinds of anxiety. A behavior I decided to change after I realized the last time I looked forward to my birthday was when I turned 21.

For almost three decades, I lived with the belief that reaching the age of alcohol legality was life’s last call for age celebration. Society’s idea that 1, 16 and 21 were the few birthdays worth fun fanfare had me fooled.

Realizing how limiting this thought was prompted me to make a few tweaks in my thinking. Deciding to make my birthday less about the number and more about my life was the first step.

Now I see my birthday as a day to celebrate where I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going. Birthdays are a great mark in time, so it helped me to see time as a gift rather than a thief.

Here are a few things that might help you make your birthday great again

Set a goal with a plan. Many people feel their birthday is a depressing reminder of things they haven’t done. If the same goal sits on your list year after year it’s probably time to take a deeper look at why. In most cases, the solution sits snugly in your subconscious mind. Once you uncover what’s kept you back, goals become achievable.

Be with loved ones. We are here as humans to enjoy relationships. Even if you have people around, take a moment and assess if those people fill you up or wear you out. You pick up the vibe of your tribe so if your tribe isn’t raising you up it might be time to give birth to some new relationships.

Give some thing to some one else. The ripple effect is real. Awkwardly compliment the clerk at the dry cleaner. Give an extra $5 to the waiter. Giving is a great way to see life’s beauty.

Celebrate Gratitude. Yes. There’s a reason gratitude shows up in conversation so often. Because it works. What you appreciate, appreciates. Take note of the things in life you enjoy. Then. Do more of them. It’s that simple. Allow your life to be easy. And if right now the only thing in your life you enjoy is your morning cup of coffee, still write it down. Start somewhere and begin to sip down that java with a smile. You will soon see more and more of what you like start to show up for you.

Whatever the age, the bigness of a birthday is relevant. Last month my friend’s daughter turned 19. She slipped into a bit of a funk knowing this was the last year she’d say teen in her age.

Miracles are a shift in perception. Instead of mourning the passing of time, celebrate where you are, even if it’s not exactly where you want to be.

Endings hit especially hard when you don’t know what’s coming next. So take the lead and begin to be a part of creating what’s next.

Make a plan and keep moving forward. No matter our age, we are always capable of learning some thing new and raising a few standards.

Hallie Hudson Peavey used to be a puzzled stay-at-home mom confused as to why a life full of very pretty things brought her very little satisfaction. Today, she is a life coach and communication consultant eager to share her solution with anyone asking a similar question. (She is also a Taurus, so she is still a fan of pretty things, but in a different way.)  Her phone sessions offer a blend of her experience as a life coach and multimedia communicator.

Hallie helps people get everything they want by redirecting outdated neural pathways blocking the way. The proven results empower her clients to confidently communicate their message as they begin to understand who they are. Through fun and unconditional conversation her science-based techniques pave a new way for anyone to enjoy true satisfaction. If you want to learn more about her services subscribe to Truth Drops newsletter full of thoughts to help you grow.

“Feel Better at 55 and Beyond”

by Ted G. Bell, DMD

Online Wellness Coach & Healthy Lifestyle Advocate

There are many things we cannot predict, like tonight’s lottery numbers, tomorrow’s weather or the next fashion trend. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not so concerned about the next fashion trend, as I have had some of the same clothes for… well; let’s just say a long time. And I look for the positive in any type of weather, so I don’t worry about catching the reports on the news.

But one thing I could predict was how my health was going. With my in-laws living less than a mile away, we always had them over for dinner. It was a “Sunday dinner” every day of the week, and since my wife and I enjoy cooking and baking, I found myself overeating very frequently. Casually observing the health of my in-laws and dental patients, I saw heart disease, diabetes and lists of medications a mile long. So at 40 years old, I could predict that health problems were in my future.

I grew up in South Florida, and I’m now in the Northeast (I know… I got it backwards). In my youth, I was one of the “fat kids.” I don’t even like to use that term, but that was me. I could never turn down a big plate of pasta or any type of dessert. Near the end of high school, I lost weight, although I did it the wrong way. I ate too little for my activity level. I found joy in jogging and playing basketball and studied food labels to get as few fats and calories as possible. I lost weight, but I was always tired and run down.

I went to college in Atlanta, then dental school in Philadelphia. I stayed at a reasonable weight, although I never had an athletic, toned appearance. It seemed like I was always on a diet, thinking that by restricting my food intake, I would be in better shape. Instead, I craved unhealthy junk more than ever.

Fast forward a couple years after dental school graduation, and I was blessed to find the perfect wife and start an amazing family! But that’s when we started having five “Sunday dinners” a week. I was not as physically active as I had been in college or dental school, and my weight started creeping up. Family and work commitments were often to blame for not exercising, but I really had only myself to blame.

I weighed 160 lbs. after dental school, but by the time I reached 40 (15 years later), I was over 210 lbs. That may work if you’re a bodybuilder with tons of muscle, but not a 5’9” dentist. After hurting my knee playing soccer, I knew I wouldn’t be exercising. So again, I looked to strict dieting as a way to control my weight.

I tried different diets that you are probably familiar with but nothing worked. It wasn’t until an old dental school friend introduced me to a new type of nutrition (not a diet) and subtle lifestyle modifications that I stopped gaining weight and was able to lose weight for the first time in decades without cravings and hunger! My friend recommended and coached me with this simple Isagenix system focused on protein, complex carbs, healthy fats, fiber, amino acids, vitamins/minerals, trace minerals, probiotics and complex sugars to get the right nutrition. Some of my lifestyle modifications included drinking more water, eating the right amount of food at the right times and using weights to exercise (starting with light weights).

My energy level went through the roof!!! My immediate thought was what was in this nutrition? So I checked it out. It’s all-natural and seemed like a “superfood.” I was sleeping better than I had in years. I wanted to learn more and share my knowledge with whoever would listen, similar to recommending a good movie or restaurant.

And that is what led me to become a health coach, in addition to being a dentist. I help people not only lose weight, but also put on weight the right way, increase their energy levels, sleep better and age healthier.

As you age, what are your health goals? And more importantly, WHY do you have those health goals? I want you to focus on your why and not just on the scale. Maybe you want to be able to keep up with your grandkids, or have more energy to travel or maybe you want to set the example for other loved ones to help them jump start their own journey to better health.

Make yourself a priority and feel better than you have in years! You don’t have to go for that “toned, athletic look,” but maybe subtle changes in your daily routine can significantly help you like it did and continues to do for me.  Be Well!

I’d be happy to have a 20-minute complimentary consultation with you to discuss nutrition, share additional lifestyle tips and see if what changed my life can benefit you. Contact me by phone or text at (609)922-3340, by email at, or send me a friend request and message on Facebook at my profile page

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