Heart Choices: 2008-07-20 -->

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I'm A Savvy Auntie Charter Member!

I found a great new social network called Savvy Auntie! It's still in beta since it only launched about two weeks ago. I'm a charter member and I'm excited about that! The reason I had to join another social network (like I have so much extra time on my hands) is because it is "the first community for cool aunts, great aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids". Well, I consider myself a cool aunt and I'm also a godmother and I love kids. I also love the cool badges they give you to display. Melanie Notkin is the CEO and I am now following her on Twitter.

I will get to meet other women like me; cool aunts and godmothers. They have forums where we can introduce ourselves and get ideas about things to do with our nieces and nephews...and ways to spoil them. After all, isn't that what being an aunt is all about? Moms aren't supposed to do that but aunts; I say go for it!

My brother and his wife have indulged me for the last twenty years and counting. They have two beautiful daughters Kristin and Katie and they've allowed me to share in so many aspects of their lives. Even though we live on opposite ends of the country with them in Florida and me in Arizona, we've managed to be very involved in each other's lives. From the day they were born, I've treasured so many of their crayon pictures which they sent to Aunt Debbie (I still have them). I took them on trips to Washington DC to teach them about how our government works. But what I really remember from that trip is watching them stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial yelling "Jenny" like in the Forrest Gump movie as they overlooked the reflecting pool. They can be so dramatic!

My husband Greg and I took them to San Francisco and Las Vegas. We were able to introduce them to these wonderful sights and shows for the first time of their lives. Kristin, Katie and I explored southern California. We went to San Diego but they loved Santa Monica and checking out the surfers on the Malibu beach, walking down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and looking for movie stars. Although they are smart and pretty, they are also lots of fun!

They love to kid around and we can say things with each other that we wouldn't repeat to outsiders. When each of them graduated from high school, Aunt Debbie took them on a trip to New York City. We explored the sights of the city and especially loved eating; pizza at Lombardi's in Little Italy, black and whites every morning, hot pretzels on the run and pastrami and rye sandwiches. Obviously, there was no dieting while on vacation.

Broadway plays were a great hit with my nieces. We've seen Mama Mia, Man of La Mancha, The Color Purple, Hairspray, The Spelling Bee and more I can't remember. They always know that when they travel with Aunt Debbie we get to go to church on Sunday. In NY that means the Brooklyn Tabernacle. What a wonderful and exciting experience to hear Pastor Jim Cymbala in person and listen to that beautiful choir. It was such a spiritual and cultural experience worshipping with such a wide variety of people. I believe there are so many ways to have fun but also bring a positive influence and experiences into their lives.

Where are they now? Well, Kristin is so smart. She's in graduate school for speech pathology in Tampa, Florida. And Katie, well she moved to New York City! She is living in Brooklyn and has a job as an apprentice in training at a salon on 5th Avenue. How exciting is that? (Now I know where Aunt Debbie can stay when she visits NYC next time.)

So, how does this relate to Heart Choices? When I was unable to have children of my own, I chose to become involved in the lives of my nieces. Although I couldn't control my circumstances, I chose to find ways to participate in the lives of my loved ones. And believe me, it's been worth it for sure.

So thank you Steve and Barb for sharing your daughters with me!

And now thank you Melanie Notkin for being such an entrepreneur and starting this exciting new social community, Savvy Auntie!


Get In Shape

Do you want to lose weight and get in better shape? It might be easy to get started but it can be very challenging to stick with a program after a week or two, despite all your good intentions. Believe me, I've... been there, done that!

Well this morning on Twitter, I noticed a tweet about Google having an interesting campaign to promote walking. Thanks for the heads up, Steve Rubel. I clicked on the link he provided. Cleveland Clinic and Google are promoting a 15 week walking program. You can track your progress using the gadget that can be uploaded to your iGoogle home page. I love having iGoogle as my home page because I have all of my favorite blogs, weather, news in one spot. So, now I have my "walk for good" progress tracker.

Accountability really helps when you want to stick with an exercise or eating plan. Somehow, having to mark off each day as to whether I stuck with my plan or not causes me to be more loyal to my program. I hate having empty spots when I was supposed to exercise. Zig Ziglar is a great promoter of accountability when starting an exercise program. He recommends making a mark on your daily calendar, noting how much exercise you did for that day. Whenever you see a lot of empty days, you're heading for trouble. Well, now you can keep track right on your computer.

At the end of the program, you can vote on which charity will receive $100,000. So you're walking for good! Each week, Cleveland Clinic will have a new video to help motivate you to continue. We all need some extra motivation and this might be something that will help many of you.

Make the heart choice to take good care of yourself. Check it out!

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