Wednesday, December 26, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Many of us make resolutions for the New Year but I have found the answer to sticking to two of the most popular resolutions and even succeeding in them.

Resolution #1

Get your finances straight... Overall I think we Americans struggle most with the money piece. We're not really taught practical money management in school, and as adults we can feel intimidated by all the economic jargon and we get the idea that financial savvy really belongs to a special few. That's why getting educated about your money is so important. Capital One, for instance, has some terrific tips and resources on their website: these are easy to understand and they yet provide the information you really need to know. Here are some of their tips:

Create a spending plan – Having a spending plan is the easiest way to stay on top of your spending. Once you have a budget, remember to track all of your spending against it and review it every few months to make sure you’re sticking to it.
Save – Save as often as you can. Start by establishing a few small savings goals and incorporate them into your budget. Remember that even small amounts can add up over time.
Get a copy of your credit report. Making sure it’s accurate is one of the best ways to protect against identity theft and consumers everywhere can obtain a free annual copy by visiting

Capital One offers a host of free consumer information available at
- just click on Financial Education Partnerships.

Resolution #2

Update your look. Take some of that Christmas money and get yourself some wonderful clothes. Don't wait till to lose weight or the styles get more flattering or whatever it is that's been holding you back. You deserve to look magnificent. And if wear glasses, new ones can spice up your whole look. I'm finding LenCrafters is like a fashionista's candy store. They have some stunning new styles from Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, DKNY, Versace -- having some of these terrific glasses is a way to wear something from a designer every single day without spending a lot. It spices up your whole look -- you know, people do look at your eyes first -- and you can look at 2008 with new eyes and a new attitude."

to find out the latest trends or visit the store near you so you can start the year off right!

Resolution #3

Come closer to a vegetarian diet. For your body, the animals, and the planet, eat green. Put more fresh vegetables and fruits, satisfying whole grains, and legumes (beans, lentils, split peas, soy products) in your diet, and double the number of vegetarian entrees you enjoy each week. Here are some stats to ponder (from EarthSave International):

Number of people who could be fed using the land, water and energy that would be freed up from growing livestock feed if Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%: 100,000,000

Activity that accounts for more than half of all water consumed for all purposes in the United States:
Livestock Production

Risk of heart attack for the average American man: 50%. Risk of death front heart attack for the average American man who consumes no meat, dairy products or eggs: 4%

Increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat meat daily compared to less than once a week: 3.8 times higher

Health status of pure vegetarians from many populations of the world according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences: Excellent

Resolution #4

Have quiet time every morning. Nothing will change the way you see the world, your life, and yourself more than making contact every morning for ten to twenty minutes with the highest and best that's in you. Use the time for prayer, meditation, journal writing, inspirational reading or some combination. Here are some of the benefits of meditation:

More energy

Improved sleep

Decreased anxiety (meditation lowers lactate levels in the blood)

Increased concentration

Decrease in muscle tension and muscle pain, including some headaches

Supports immune system (it increases the activity of natural killer cells that attack bacteria and viruses)

Increased serotonin production which can lead to an improvement in depression

Stems overeating (this may also be a serotonin response)

Builds self-esteem

Improves quality of sleep and can be part of the treatment for insomnia

Increases alertness

Brings about happiness as an internal state not dependent on external events

A classic book for new and seasoned meditators: How to Meditate, by Lawrence LeShan

Resolution #5

Enjoy something every day. We're so serious that I see our society suffering from a great lack of joy. Oh, we have ease, and recreation, and entertainment, and diversions, but joy is different. It comes from letting your inner kid out to play. Find ways to enjoy the little things. Stop a moment of pleasure. The e-mail can wait. So can the laundry. Your heart and soul and self have been put on hold too often. Here are some of the simple joys that please the heck out of me:

Snow! Even with global warming, it still snows sometimes and it's absolutely gorgeous.

My cat: he'll follow anything with a tail (ribbon, string, shoelace, the cord from the phone charger)

Afternoon tea (get a whole new appreciation for the brew and its herbal associates at

Watching a movie in the middle of the day, either at a theater or in bed under the covers

Having breakfast for dinner (my menu: Scrambled Tofu [I used Fantastic Foods Tofu Scrambler mix], toasted spelt English muffins with flax oil and all-fruit jam, grilled veggie-Canadian-bacon [Yves is a good brand, at natural foods stores], and fresh o.j. Yum.)

A hot bath with Dr. Kneipp's bath oils---there's an array to choose from if I want to relax, perk up, feel less stiff or sore, or clear my nasal passages and my thinking.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Charmed Monday Minute- 12/10/07

An amazing adventure...

Hi, everybody. U-Haul has as their slogan "Adventures in Moving" and, heaven knows, I've had an adventure. I did the move from New York City to Woodstock on my own. I figured William was in so much grief over the death of his son that he would not do well with the stress of moving so I bought him a nonrefundable ticket to visit his mom in Kansas so he couldn't say no. Then I proceeded to pack, transport, uproot, redecorate, and reestablish our domestic life.

I had some terrific packing help in NYC from a wonderful professional organizer named Liani Greaves. If you're in the NYC area and in need of establishing some order, I highly recommend her. You can reach her by phone at 917-561-9814. On the day of the Big Move, however, everything went wrong. I hired movers from craigslist---major mistake. For starters, they were six hours late. For finishers, although they advertised themselves as legitimate movers, they weren't. They were instead some guys in the restaurant business in Albany looking to make a buck when their truck is in New York City. Big problem: small truck. They ended up having to make two runs and charging me double.

And after all that, they forgot our clothes. No kidding: on the second run when they were by themselves, they didn't look in closets and I realized that all my business clothes and all my husband's suits and sports jackets and overcoats were in garment bags back in Manhattan - 2 ½ hours away. The moving guy promised he'd pick them up on Monday. He didn't. I ended up driving there myself Tuesday morning. It was rough: I was not ready to see the city only four days after leaving it. I cried so hard in front of my old building that the morning doorman, a devout Muslim who would never ordinarily touch a woman who wasn't his wife, felt so bad that he hugged me!

There were also snags of every sort on the apartment. The painter was skilled but went well over budget. The movers managed to lock my desk (I didn't know it had a lock and I certainly had no key) so I had to call a locksmith. The electrical outlets in my husband's office weren't grounded so I had to bring in an electrician. The windows are odd sized so getting shades and blinds was trying. The Roadrunner cable still doesn't work for our Internet (Dear Verizon: You cost a lot but we're coming back...) and the TV cable doesn't work at all. And yet, with every day and every challenge I felt stronger and more up to the job. I had to create a warm, welcoming home for William, no matter what. As I result, I matted pictures, hung curtains, painted woodwork, and did a host of other things I've never done and always said were outside my area of interest or expertise. The way I feel today: I can do just about anything. I guess that's what the word empowerment is about.

You know what I thought of through this time?---those military recruitment commercials that basically say, "Give us your scrawny, good-for-nothing kid and we'll give you back a soldier." Ten days ago I was, figuratively, the scrawny kid. Now I'm strong and brave in a way I wasn't before. Who knew they held boot camp at Home Depot?

Anyway, we're settled in. I created a shrine for James with a piece of his original artwork, his photograph, one of his school awards, and the crucifix from his memorial service. The picture of him is on a little table with a cubby where all the sympathy cards (thanks for sending them) are in a special box. On one side is a framed print of the angel Raphael and on the other a matted cover of the latest Harry Potter book, James's favorite. Other special parts of our new digs are two closets and the laundry room, painted a luscious red---perfect feng shui. One of the closets (mine) is the prosperity section of the apartment and totally magical, with a little hallway leading to it, stars on the walls, and magic in the air.

Bobby, our cat, loves it here---he has birds to watch and great views from all these second floor windows. Siân and Erik, William's 21-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son, are here from Toronto for a few days, and Adair and Nick and the two dogs are coming for Christmas. It all feels very much a home, at least for the time being. I see New York City in movies and all and can't bear to think that I could conceivably not live there again, but for now this is sweet, and now is what I've got.

I've also found a place to write---two actually. Daily Bread is a café just across the street from us that opens early and where I can write all morning. If I need an afternoon spot as well, there's a coffee bar and comfy lounge above a restaurant called Joshua's four or five blocks up. I was there today and talked to someone else with a laptop. Turns out he's writing his dissertation for a Ph.D. in religion from Columbia. He and his wife and baby have only lived here two weeks, so as fellow newbies and people interested in religion and spirituality, I hope we'll become friends.

Enough of me. I hope you're having a lovely December. Happy Hanukkah and happy Advent and happy right-now-this-minute.


Speaking of friends...

A couple of months ago I mentioned a wonderful Tarot reader, Roy Sorrels. Some of you contacted him for readings and I've gotten so much positive feedback, Roy is offering a fee-reduced holiday-season special for anyone who would like a reading, either in person in New York City or by phone wherever you are. For information about Roy's work and to discuss booking a reading at 20% off, you can email him at or call him at 646-637-4576.

Thoughts on A Simpler Life...

I wrote this a couple of months ago as I anticipated this move. Maybe you can relate:

I want a life with less stuff in it - fewer books I don't read, fewer clothes I don't wear, less mail and less paper; fewer to-do list items that don't make my heart sing. I want everything in my home to either do something or mean something.

I intend to travel less - only for real fun or real money. I want less email and the nerve to not answer it if I don't feel like it, and maybe not even open it if I don't feel like that. I want a clearer calendar and shorter tax return.

I look forward to divesting from my wardrobe any garment that has "sweat" as its first syllable. I relish knowing less about Britney and more about me. I crave the chance to do more work that matters and less that spins my wheels.

I want days to be longer so I don't have to choose between mediation and writing in my journal, or between yoga and Pilates, my husband and my daughter. Long days would mean cooking dinner from scratch and writing my books in pen. Days like that would put empty spaces in my life so if something wonderful showed up, there would be room for her sit. I want more time to spend with my dog. (If I had the time, I'd get the dog.)

I want to live in the day I'm given and stop defusing miracles by needing them so much. I want to spend more time with the people I love and the ones I find interesting. I yearn to immerse myself in the sacred and be choosy about the profane. I choose to live my life now and never again strive to reach a goal unless I should happen to take up hockey.

Christmas cooking...

I hear people say sometimes, "I could do without the turkey. It's the stuffing I'd miss." I've been vegetarian since before they held that concert in my new home town, and I have often had to suffer through a stuffing-less holiday season. We serve our stuffing (or stuffings -- we often do one with bread and one rice, depending on how many diners will be around the table) with either a nut loaf or one of the turkey alternatives now on the market ("Tofurky" and the others, available at natural foods stores), a fresh green salad, string bean casserole with cashew white sauce, a simple sweet potato dish, and either pumpkin or apple pie as a belated dessert. Here's a stuffing recipe I like. It's from The Compassionate Cook: More Than 200 Delicious Vegan Recipes, by Ingrid Newkirk:

Harvest Stuffing

1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup diced celery
1/2-1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup margarine (choose one with no trans-fats)
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2-1 tsp. salt
8 cups dry bread cubes
2 apples, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt margarine in large skillet over medium heat. Cook carrots, celery, and onion until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the poultry seasoning, pepper, and salt.

In a bowl, combine the bread cubes, apples, and walnuts, then add the carrot mixture. Add enough water or broth to moisten, tossing lightly.

Transfer to a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish, cover, band bake for 20-30 minutes. Serves 8 to 10. Preparation time: 30 minutes. Baking time: 20-30 minutes.

Tuning into my Internet radio program, A Charmed Life, on

Some people have had some difficulties accessing the show which airs live on the 4th Wednesday of every month and is archived forevermore. One of the people who couldn't hear the show was my November guest Judy Goldberg, a certified flower essences practitioner. Linda MacKenzie from walked her through it and here are the instructions for you:

Hi Judy,
Victoria forwarded your message to me. Let me see if I can help. To get to our main site log on to which gets you to our home page...then:

1- If you want to hear a live show - double click the blue "Listen Live" button at the top and whatever show is on plays automatically.

2- If you want to hear an archive show - click on the archive button located at the top of our home page near the Listen Live button called "Archives." Scroll down to Men, Woman & Family Issues and directly beneath this you will find Victoria Moran's name. Click on her name and that will bring you to her archived show page. Then merely select the show you would like to hear and click on it and it will automatically play. Windows Media Player is required and if you don't have it you can download it free at the top of our home page above the "Listen Live" button on top upper right of the home page.

It does take a day or two after the show is aired before we archive it. Although there should not be any trouble to listen to our programs (unless you have a Mac - they can be finicky) but if you do have trouble listening click our "Trouble Listening" link in the left hand column to find out what to do. We even cover those finicky Macs.

(Note from Victoria: I have a Mac and never before believed I could love a computer. Different strokes.... Anyway, please tell me (1) if you listen to the show; (2) if you have trouble accessing it. I will do something different if people can't hear this. Thanks.)

I'm on BeliefNet!

I am honored and privileged to have some work of mine featured on, the premier site on the net for spirituality and religions. Here is the link to my latest piece, "10 Ways to Be Your Own Life Coach."

New Internet Radio Show:

You can listen to my internet radio show on from noon to 1pm EST every 4th Wednesday of the month. The last show was wonderful, featuring my action partner and opera-singer-extraordinaire, Sherry Boone. Check it out in the archives here.

(Trouble listening? Click here for the site's help page.)

Victoria, Virtual Life Coach!

Victoria is now the official Life Coach of the blog "Elastic Waist" and will be featured a few times a month in exclusive interviews! To view the first post, click here. The second is here. Enjoy!

Fat, Broke & Lonely No More was picked for since Victoria was a guest on the Jean Chatzky Show on Oprah & Friends Radio. If you go to the page, you can write a reader review if you'd like.

Quotation of the Week:

"I pray thee, God, make me beautiful on the inside." -- Socrates


TOPEKA, KS: January 6, Sunday, 11 a.m., Sunday service, "The God-Shaped Hole," book signing to follow; Unity Church of Christianity, 9126 SW Tenth Ave.,

KANSAS CITY, MO: January 13, Sunday, 9 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday services, "The God-Shaped Hole," book signing to follow; Center for Spiritual Living, 1306 W. 39th St., 816/931-2395,

NEW YORK CITY: January 15, Tuesday, The Learning Annex , workshop entitled "How to Have a More Spiritual Life"