Why Gay Marriage is not like Divorce – First Things (blog)

Thomas Reese, writing about gay marriage in the National Catholic Reporter, argues that the Catholic bishops of the United States should “admit defeat and move on.” They’ve done this before, he claims: Think of “their predecessors who opposed legalizing divorce but lost,” and who then “accepted divorce” in practice if not in theory—for example, by hiring divorcées. “Today, Catholic institutions rarely fire people when they get divorced and remarried,” and the divorced and remarried “get spousal benefits.” “No one is scandalized by this,” he writes.

This is like saying: “The patient has been taking this poison for years, getting sicker and weaker—so let’s triple the dose.” The argument is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Further, there are manifold reasons why gay marriage is a different and greater threat than divorce, and why acquiescing in it would gravely damage the Church. Here are four.

First, virtually no one celebrates divorce or regards it as a positive good. There is no “Divorced Pride” parade. At most, some think of it like abortion rights: a tragedy and an evil when it happens, but a necessary escape hatch. No one is clamoring for prelates to praise divorce. In contrast, gay marriage is trumpeted as a positive good, and the Church will be shown no mercy by its advocates until bishops, too, march in the parade. We should have no illusions about the way cultural forces (and, soon, legal coercion) will aim to compel the Church not only to be silent on gay marriage, but to praise it and to integrate it into the Church’s life—or else.

Second, while divorce negates an important element of marriage, it doesn’t change the kind of relationship we’re speaking about. With divorce, we recognize that the old bond should have endured, but didn’t. A new legal act is needed to sunder what was joined. But even in this, we still grasp the nature of the bond itself: between a man and a woman, of a kind that generates children, implying permanence, if only for the good of the kids. Gay marriage undermines true marriage in a different and much more dangerous way: It hollows out its very essence, applying the word to something else entirely, a relationship that itself has no potential to generate children, and so cannot itself (without help from the law or from outsiders) form a family. Gay marriage makes it increasingly hard even to talk about what is essential to true marriage. To accept gay marriage as a genuine expression of marriage—and to treat it as such in the parish office, even if we could then keep it out of the parish church—would be vastly more destructive than accepting divorce (which has been bad). It changes the very essence of the institution.

Third, divorce and remarriage is often hidden from view. One often doesn’t know if someone was divorced years ago—and it’s even more rare to know whether there was an annulment. Gay marriage is obviously different, and the threat of scandal is much greater.

Fourth, it is not true that no one is scandalized when church institutions hire divorced and remarried people. Reese’s argument implies that no one will be shocked if we have divorced sacristans (or gay-married parish receptionists), since everyone understands that it’s just the world we live in. But scandal, as Jesus spoke about it, is not a psychological shock. It is rather a skandalon, a stumbling block to others who will then be tempted to sin. “It is impossible that stumbling blocks should not come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck . . .” (Luke 17:1–2). Is it plausible to claim that widespread acceptance of divorce has not contributed to more divorce? The effect will be even more powerful with gay marriage. If the Church accepts the new cultural and legal norms on gay marriage in its institutional life, even if not in its worship, it will say (especially to the “little ones” Jesus was talking about) that gay marriage is no big deal. Even today, it is a grave scandal when a Catholic teacher gets divorced and shows up at school with a new last name. Every kid in the school knows it. It teaches a lesson more powerful than any textbook. Accepting gay marriage would do much more damage.

Yes, we may have lost the battle in civil law about the civil definition of marriage. That is all the more reason that the Church must now speak ever more clearly and firmly about the truth of marriage, or her “little ones” will soon weaken and fall. That would be the true scandal.

Dominic Legge, O.P., is a Dominican priest and a professor of theology at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Source: Divorce - Google News

Divorce may be the best way to remove the ‘condition’ from a spouse’s … – New York Daily News


Bride and groom figurines standing on two separated slices of wedding cake, symbolizing divorce. If a husband won't sign a spouse's petition to remove the "condition" from her conditional permanent resident status, divorce may be the best option

Q. My girlfriend is a conditional permanent resident, with a two-year card. She left her husband and we want to start a relationship but don’t want to hurt her chances. My friend married for love, but she and her husband soon realized that the marriage wouldn’t work. They have joint bank and credit card accounts as proof that their marriage was real. What are my friend’s options?

M. , California

A. One possibility is for your friend to ask her husband to sign the petition removing the condition. Despite their separation, if he is willing to help her she can file a “joint petition” to remove the condition from her residence. If the husband won’t help, she can self-petition for her permanent card (valid for 10 years and renewable).

Your friend received a two-year conditional permanent resident card because she became a permanent resident within two years of her marriage. She can apply to remove the condition without her husband’s help if 1) she married in good faith, and the marriage was bona fide or “real” and was terminated by divorce or annulment, or 2) she is the victim of spousal abuse or her child has suffered abuse from her husband or, 3) that leaving the United States will result in her suffering extreme hardship.

If her husband won’t sign the petition, divorce may be the best option. No matter which route she chooses, she will benefit from help from an immigration law expert.

When a conditional permanent resident self-petitions based on a good faith marriage, the USCIS wants to see a divorce or annulment decree before approving the petition. If the divorce becomes final before the two-year card expires, the ex-wife can file form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence immediately. If a divorce is not final when the card expiration date is near, the conditional resident should nevertheless file the form. USCIS will give her a limited amount of time to get divorced. If she can’t get divorced in time, USCIS will refer her case to an immigration judge. The judge will typically give her additional time to get a divorce decree.

Allan Wernick is an attorney and director of the City University of New York’s Citizenship NOW! project. Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 4 New York Plaza, 7th fl., New York, N.Y., 10004 or email to questions@allanwernick.com. Follow him on Twitter @awernick.

Source: Divorce - Google News

Do You Have Divorced Mom’s Guilt? Why It Can Hurt Your Kids . . . and You! – POPSUGAR

As a divorced parent, you may sometimes feel as if your kids are missing out or have been negatively impacted by the divorce. And most likely, your kids have been impacted, and you have, too. It's hard to get a divorce and remain 100-percent unscathed. However, divorce can be a positive situation that brings two happy families to the table instead of one unhappy family. There are indeed pros to choosing to divorce rather than to stay married when there are kids or no kids involved, but it is hard as a parent to not feel as if you have done something to hurt your kids by choosing to dissolve your marriage.

But that guilt — divorce guilt — can really kill you and hurt your kids. It's just one emotion, sure, but guilt will fuel so many of your choices as a parent and as a person when you are burdened with intense personal responsibility for deciding to divorce and are unable to let that guilt go. Unfortunately, these "choices" driven by guilt are typically not good ones, so let's figure out first if you're carrying too much guilt on those mommy shoulders and then how it negatively impacts everyone in the family.

Blame Game

Does every bad or upsetting thing or every mood your child or children have all fall on you? Do you feel as if it must be because of the divorce or because somehow, thanks to the divorce, you've become a worse parent?

If you answered yes, you're weighing heavy on the guilt scale.

The Mental Tally

At night or during the day, do you weigh in on whatever you have done as a parent as if you're a sports commentator issuing a play-by-play? And when you do this, do you usually seethe with internal anger and sadness because somehow you messed up and disappointed your kids, again?

You have a whopper of guilt, my friend.


Does it feel as if your kids' issues from the divorce are never-ending? Does it feel sometimes as if you should have just stayed and curse yourself for making the choice to end your marriage? You're riddled with divorce guilt and taking all the blame in the situation on yourself. It's hard to believe it will get better when you are going through a divorce, but falling into the belief that it's never-ending sadness from here on out for you and your kids is not productive.

Developmental Issues? No, It's the Divorce!

This is a tricky one. It's hard sometimes to tell if your child is having a typical developmental or life issue or if your kid is acting out due to the divorce. There were times when people said, "Oh, my kid does that too," but as a mom, my instinct still said, "It's due to the divorce." The problem becomes when you fear that everything is because of the divorce. By putting the divorce as this bomb of misery on your child, you're putting too much guilt on yourself for what could be a normal developmental or life issue your child is going through.

With that said, you, as mom, know the best, and when people said that it was just a normal kid thing, I knew that sometimes my daughter was going through normal preschool-aged issues and sometimes, it was due to her anger and grief over the divorce.

How This Impacts Your Kids . . . and You

Buying Love
This is a typical one. You buy and spoil the kids you feel you've ruined thanks to the divorce. You think toys and trips can replace the family your children are missing. Guess what? They can't. So put back your wallet and be reasonable. Your kids don't need every toy to grieve this divorce properly. They need love, support, and open communication, not an endless run to Toys"R"Us. Buying away the grief of divorce will only bring you bratty, ungrateful kids, not happy, content, and hardworking children who will turn into productive adults.

Make Excuses
Was your kid (pardon me) a brat to another kid? Did you shrug it off?

"Oh, it's the divorce, you know," you tell yourself.

Stop it. Your kid should be given understanding and empathy considering divorce is such a huge life change, but not a "free-for-all" pass to behave however he or she wants. This will just allow your kid to learn bad social habits. Plus, if your child has a real issue, letting it slide won't help him or her grow up to be a happy and stable adult.

I was never the parent to make excuses or blow off my kid's behaviors. In fact, I had the opposite problem. After watching my daughter go through issues with her little peers when her father and I first separated, I developed a fear that she would act out, and this anxiety affected me when we went on playdates. Most of the times, the playdates went fine, but inside my head, I worried she would act out.

On occasion when she did act out, I did my best to redirect her, but I felt intense guilt and shame. I would replay the scenario in my head over and over again. What did that get me? Nothing but more guilt and stress.

You Don't Run the World
You think you have destroyed things for your kids, and every time they mention how they wish Daddy were here, you feel like Satan in yoga pants.

How could you do this to your kids, you say?

This kind of attitude will kill you, slowly but surely.

You aren't fully responsible for every minute of your children's misfortunes in life. Life will deal them harsh blows, and they themselves will bring on their own unique troubles. Yes, the divorce has impacted them. Yes, this situation is not the most optimal, but you and the divorce are not these evil destroyers you have made out in your brain. Remember: it takes two to divorce.

No matter what, remember that you are not this swirl or cloud of doom, and neither is the divorce. It gets better because you want it to be better. Because you want a happy, fulfilling, and peaceful life. Divorce can be the entryway to a happier you, happier kids, and a happier future. It is not a death sentence. Believing it is will chain you to a miserable life.

Losing the Rational
When you parent with guilt, you don't make solid and rational choices for your children or yourself. There are too many excuses, too much pain, and too little accountability for yourself or your child. Do you really want your guilt to impact your kids even more than the divorce has?

Bottom line: Divorce impacts kids, but a happy life is out there for you if you want it. However, if you let the chains of guilt weigh you down, neither your children nor yourself will ever be free.

Forgive yourself for the loss of your marriage, and move on. Your kids deserve it, and so do you!

Source: Divorce - Google News

If we downsize and de-clutter our lives can we get more out of life? – NEWS.com.au

If we downsize our lives we can get more out of life.

If we downsize our lives we can get more out of life.
Source: News Limited

GO INTO your kitchen and look in a cupboard. How many items are there that you haven’t used in months?

An unusual size pan, a fancy plate for a special occasion, a zester you used for one recipe.

Do the same with your wardrobe. Note the slightly-too-small shoes you’ve never worn. What about your bathroom? Admit it: you’ve barely used that perfume you bought on a whim.

If your house is overflowing, you’re not alone. Australians spend $10 billion a year on items we never use. Clutter is overtaking our lives and, according to new research, it’s also taking its toll on our happiness. According to recent UK research, couples have 32 arguments a year about the volume of objects in their house. Stuff can mean serious stress.

But things are changing. You only have to look at your Instagram feed to see the photos that people deem share-worthy are often less about possessions and more about experiences they’re enjoying: holiday shots, time with loved ones, delicious food. Stuff is out. Experience is in.

James Wallman, cultural-trend forecaster and author of Stuffocation: Living More with Less, believes focusing on “experientialism” (instead of accumulating items) brings fulfilment. “Having too much, doing too little, and living a life focused on the accumulation of material things is making people anxious,” he writes. “Instead of feeling enriched by the things we own, we are stifled by them. Experiences are more likely to lead to happiness. This should serve as a new value system for a better, happier culture.”

Small houses like this one don’t really allow for a huge amount of possessions.

Small houses like this one don’t really allow for a huge amount of possessions.
Source: Supplied

You’ve probably already welcomed experientialism into your life. How many times have you suggested to friends you have dinner together rather than exchange Christmas presents? Or told your partner you’d rather have a weekend away than a birthday gift? The success of companies such as Red Balloon, which offers “experience gifts” from rally driving to spa days, proves experientialism is big business.

Some people are taking it a step further. Instead of buying less, they’re getting rid of things. They believe living with fewer items lets us prioritise what’s really important.

Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are two friends now known as The Minimalists. Five years ago, they were earning six-figure salaries and working 70-hour weeks in the US. But ‘affluenza’ was making them stressed; the cars and gadgets they could afford weren’t enriching their lives. So they packed every item in their (large) houses into boxes with the aim to unpack only what they needed, when they needed it. On the first day, they each unpacked hygiene products, a suit, one pair of underwear, one pair of socks, one pair of shoes, one tie and one belt. The next day came a few more things, such as plates and cutlery. Five days later, they didn’t unpack anything. Almost everything they owned was still sitting in boxes. They discovered what made them happy wasn’t their stuff, but spending time with friends and family.

“Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less,” they say. “Rather, we focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth and contribution and contentment. More freedom. It just happens that clearing the clutter from life’s path helps us make that room.”

Minimalism helps keep us calm and maintain and sense of space.

Minimalism helps keep us calm and maintain and sense of space.
Source: Supplied

Australia has just run its own anti-affluenza project, The New Joneses. It portrays buying items to “keep up with the Joneses” as outdated, and encourages a mindset of doing more with less. Last February, a man called Wayne moved into a purpose-built house in Melbourne’s City Square in just his underwear. In the week he lived there, he had to find everything he needed to live a lighter life, from a sustainable energy supplier to secondhand clothes, bedding and furniture.

“The New Joneses maximise resources and minimise waste,” explains creator of the project, Tamara DiMattina. “They choose to simplify their lives by being more resourceful. It shows an enjoyable life doesn’t have to be all about buy, buy, buy. They’re road-testing a lifestyle that’s better for us, our wallets, our people and our planet. They’re living it up, not keeping up.”

When it comes to living it up, size matters. Thirty years ago, the average Australian home was 150 square metres. Today, despite families shrinking, our houses are, on average, 243 square metres – the biggest in the world. But could this contribute to our stress? Anti-affluenza campaigners predict living in smaller spaces would make us happier and more fulfilled. “If you have a smaller house, you need fewer things, so consume less energy (and money) on running it, which produces less waste,” explains DiMattina. “All this adds up to a more sustainable lifestyle and more money in your pocket.”

Sally Wills, 51, is the director of ‘small house’ building company Small Change Design & Construction. She lived in her first small house (freestanding, so different from an apartment) more than 15 years ago in Victoria’s Albert Park. “It was 45 square metres, which is about two and a half garages,” she says. “It was fantastic. I knew where everything was.” She then moved to a 7x9m house in WA. “We had to be very careful about everything we bought,” she says. “If it wouldn’t fit, we didn’t buy it. Everything had to be functional: the couch was a sofa bed, the dining table extended.” Their bed was a metre off the floor, with storage underneath. In the kitchen, they cut plaster off the walls to fit shelves. Wills now lives in a 75-square-metre house with her daughter, 13. “It’s bigger than we need,” she admits.

We should make room in our lives for new experiences, not just new stuff.

We should make room in our lives for new experiences, not just new stuff.
Source: News Limited

Wills set up her small-house business when she realised the environmental impact of large homes. “A couple ‘downsizing’ would want three or four bedrooms,” she says. “I wanted to build energy-efficient houses, but that was beside the point when I was building a 250-square-metre house for two people. If a house is half the size, it makes more sense.”

She builds houses between 20 and 80 square metres. “Building a 60-square-metre house means a fourfold reduction [from a 250-square-metre house] in the cost to build and run it. It’s much more sustainable.” The price of Wills’ creative, beautiful houses ranges from $2000 to $2500 per square metre. When the median price of a Sydney apartment is $573,000, and a Melbourne apartment is $511,500, even taking land price into account, small houses make financial sense. Sustainability is key. “They are low-impact buildings,” says Wills. “They’re timber, lightweight, with insulated walls and windows. It’s all about good-quality materials.”

Quality over quantity is the New Joneses ethos too, and also the theory behind another of DiMattina’s projects, Buy Nothing New Month. Each October, she encourages people to think before they buy, and ask if they need a new item, or if they could borrow or buy secondhand instead. “It’s not about having nothing; it’s about having the right things,” she says. “Well-designed products give longevity. The New Joneses buy well made, built-to-last items.”

The social benefit of small houses is also remarkable. “Smaller houses on smaller plots of land increase the density of suburbs, so can support strong communities,” explains Wills. “If people are downsizing but want outdoor space, they can remain in their community – essential as our population ages.”

Wills hasn’t always lived small. When she had her daughter, she built an extension. “Soon we had two housefuls of stuff,” she says. “Whatever space you have, you use, whether you need it or not.”

What about those who say they need a big home to house energetic children? Wills believes small spaces can be great for relationships. “A small house means you have to interact,” she says. “Children often like the sense of being in a cubbyhouse, somewhere enclosed and safe.” She notes many families downsize after going on holiday. “People stay in a small apartment and realise life is enriched by their experiences, not stuff or space.”

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Source: Happy Living

On July 4th, celebrate by being happy: Regina Brett – cleveland.com (blog)

Every 4th of July, the Declaration of Independence is briefly celebrated.

It shows up in newspapers and on Facebook posts for everyone to glance at before they fire up the grills and watch the fireworks.

The document is worth reading all year long. It's a great reminder that every day we are blessed to live in this land of the free, this home of the brave.

No matter who is president, no matter what Congress does or doesn't do, no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court rules, I'm still grateful to live in this great republic. This line always makes me smile:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

No one knows for sure why Thomas Jefferson put "the pursuit of Happiness" right up there with Life and Liberty.

He didn't say happiness. He said the pursuit of it.

Americans are big on happiness. Happy Meals. Disneyland. Disney World. Hollywood. Broadway. Baseball. Hot dogs. Apple pie.  

It's not like we're living in a Lego movie singing, "Everything is awesome" as our national anthem, but we smile bigger and laugh louder than most others in the world. At least that's the stereotype.

Of course not everyone here is over the moon with glee. In May, Forbes wrote about a Harris poll of 2,345 U.S. adults who were questioned about their contentment and life satisfaction.

Forbes wrote: "According to the results, a dismal 33% of Americans said that they were very happy. A poll by Time showed a slightly better response, reporting that 59% of their respondents said they were happy most of the time. That's a better number, but it still leaves 40% of us without a smile."

So, what's up with those frowns?

I think people confuse the "pursuit" of happiness with actual happiness.

What does it take to be happy? The hierarchy of needs and wants includes the basics and beyond: Food. Water. Sleep. Shelter. Safety. Security. Health. Wealth. Friends. Family. Popularity. Prestige. Getting your own way. Having a good car, home, job and retirement portfolio.

Yet even people that have all of the above aren't always happy.

What is the secret to happiness? Author Charles Murray offered five tips for living a happy life in the Wall Street Journal: Marry young, learn to recognize your soul mate, find religion, stop fretting about fame and fortune and watch the movie "Groundhog Day" over and over.

Viktor Frankl, the Holocaust survivor and author of "Man's Search for Meaning," taught the world how to find happiness no matter what happens around you. Life in the concentration camp showed him that no matter how bad the abuse or neglect, what mattered was one's response to it.

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms," he wrote, "to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

And yet he also wrote: "It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness."

So maybe the question is this: Do you want to be happy right now? Not in some distant future, but right now, at this very moment?

Most people would answer yes.

But not always.

Try it out.

Try it out when someone cuts you off in traffic. When you get skipped over for a promotion. When the diagnosis says cancer.

Do you still want to be happy?

Last week I was rolling my eyes at my husband as we stood in our wet basement trying to decide where to move something. I was getting irritable until a little voice popped in my head and said, "Regina, do you want to be happy?"

I laughed and answered correctly. Yes. Once I decided I wanted to be happy, it didn't matter who was right or wrong.

Happiness isn't a destination. It's a decision.

Happiness isn't gained by reaching a goal, winning an argument or a sporting event. It's a simple choice you make, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

It isn't somewhere you arrive at if everything aligns in your favor.

It's somewhere you start and somewhere you stay, no matter what happens around you.

Once you decide you're going to be happy no matter what, it's so much easier to allow others to be happy. Then you can truly be a joy to others.

And maybe that's the pursuit of happiness that Thomas Jefferson had in mind.


www.reginabrett.com Facebook: facebook.com/ReginaBrettFans Twitter: @ReginaBrett

Source: Happy Living

‘Collaborative divorce’ can save time and money – Philly.com

By Debra Denison Cantor

and Ann V. Levin

While many associate the word divorce with painful and messy, a new emphasis on conflict resolution has led to a specialty known as "collaborative divorce." Gaining traction in Pennsylvania as well as being part of an international movement, collaborative divorce is saving clients time, heartache, and often thousands of dollars.

Under collaborative law, both parties retain separate, specially trained lawyers whose only job is to help them settle the dispute. All parties agree to work in good faith, combining legal representation with the strength of mediation.

Source: Divorce Money

Love Essentially: Gay marriage ruling brings gay divorce questions to mind – Chicago Tribune

Hearing about the Supreme Court's ruling last week to make same-sex marriage a right nationwide got me thinking.

While I loved seeing reaction photos in the news – the huge smiles, the excitement, the cheers, the expressions of hope – one very negative word is lurking in the back of my mind: divorce.

I don't say that because I'm a pessimistic person or because I'm trying to ruin anyone's newfound joy, but rather because the reality is, more marriages almost certainly will lead to more divorces.

Meighan Harmon is a divorce attorney and senior partner at Chicago law firm Schiller DuCanto & Fleck. I asked Harmon what the Supreme Court's decision meant for divorce from a legal standpoint.

"The complexity and lack of clarity on how same-sex marriages are treated state by state is now gone," said Harmon, who has been a divorce attorney for 19 years. "In other words, the recent Supreme Court ruling helps make divorce possible for same-sex couples who might move to a state that previously didn't acknowledge same-sex marriage."

Harmon said the likely outcome is that many of those states will have legislation going forward either accepting the right for gay marriage or at a minimum acknowledging same-sex marriages that occur in other states.

"You are no longer going to have a situation where someone is in legal no mans land should they want to get divorced," she said.

Source: Divorce - Google News

Country’s First Gay Divorce Firm Opens In Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia attorney has opened what he says is the first LGBTQ divorce firm.

Attorney J. Conor Corcoran says he celebrated the Supreme Court decision to have marriage equality throughout the United States, but he quickly realized it was unlikely all of the new marriages would end in bliss.

He says that is why he launched a new division entirely devoted to LGBT divorce.
Corcoran named the site AdamvsSteve.com. He says it is “in response to the homophobic taunts of the past when bigots would chant that God intended “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

The law office of J. Conor Corcoran says it is “proud to be the first law firm in the U.S. to practice in the field of gay divorce, providing Private Client Domestic Services, 24/7 and coast to coast, regardless of your sexual orientation.”

Healthy Eating = Healthy Life

By Francesca Pucher, Health & Wellness Expert, Co-Owner Fitness 1-2-1

I am a huge nutrition follower and coach many people in varying levels of health & fitness. I have been following a clean, anti-inflammatory based lifestyle for a long time and feel great. Along with my Shakeology, I wanted to share some things you can add into your eating plan for long lasting health.

Top 14 Anti-Inflammatory Foods
By adding in the anti-inflammatory foods that fight inflammation and restore health at a cellular level, you can begin to repair the body without any drastic changes. Once you find foods that heal your body and satisfy your palate, you can remove the inflammation-causing offenders without feeling deprived. Let’s take a look at 14 of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can add to your diet.
1. Green Leafy Vegetables--The produce drawer is the first spot in your refrigerator or pantry to fill when fighting inflammation. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that restore cellular health, as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Swiss chard nutrition, for example, is extremely high in the antioxidants vitamin A and C, as well as vitamin K, which can protect your brain against oxidative stress caused by free radical damage. Eating chard can also protect you against the common vitamin K deficiency.
2. Bok Choy--Also known as Chinese cabbage, bok choy is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins and minerals. In fact, recent studies show that there are over 70 antioxidant phenolic substances in bok choy. A versatile vegetable, bok choy can be made in many dishes outside of Chinese cuisine, so make it one of your go-to anti-inflammatory foods.
3. Celery--In recent pharmacological studies, benefits of celery include both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities that help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as prevent heart disease. It’s an excellent source of potassium, as well as antioxidants and vitamins.
4. Beets--A marker of a food chock-full of antioxidants is its deep color, and beets are a prime example! When added to the diet, beet benefits include repairing cells and adding high levels of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium.
5. Broccoli--The poster vegetable for healthy eating, it’s no secret that broccoli is a valuable addition to any diet. For an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s invaluable. Broccoli is high in both potassium and magnesium, and its antioxidants are particularly potent anti-inflammatory substances in their own right. Broccoli is an antioxidant powerhouse, with key vitamins, flavonoids and carotenoids. These work together to lower oxidative stress in the body and help battle both chronic inflammation and the risk of developing cancer.
6. Blueberries--One antioxidant in particular stands out as an especially strong anti-inflammatory, and that’s quercetin. Found in citrus, olive oil and dark-colored berries, quercetin is a flavonoid (a beneficial substance or phytonutrient that’s prevalent in fresh foods) that fights inflammation and even cancer. The presence of quercetin is one of the health benefits of blueberries.
7. Pineapple--The benefits of pineapple are due to its high supply of vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium and manganese, in addition to other special antioxidants that help prevent disease formation. Pineapple is filled with phytonutrients that work as well as many medicines do to reduce symptoms of some of the most common illnesses and conditions we see today.
8. Salmon-An excellent source of essential fatty acids, and considered one of the best omega-3 foods. Omega-3s are some of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances, showing consistent relief of inflammation and reduction of the need for anti-inflammatory medications. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function.
9. Walnuts--When following a diet without a lot of meats, nuts and seeds can make up the difference for protein and omega-3s. Add omega-3-rich walnuts to green leafy salads drizzled with olive oil for a satisfying anti-inflammatory meal, or grab a handful for an on-the-go snack. Phytonutrients can help protect against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. And some phytonutrients in walnuts are hard to find in any other foods.
10. Coconut oil--So much can be written about the way herbs and oils work together to form anti-inflammatory partnerships. Lipids (fats) and spices create strong anti-inflammatory compounds, especially coconut oil and the components of turmeric. In a study in India, the high levels of antioxidants present in virgin coconut oil reduced inflammation and healed arthritis more effectively than leading medications. Also, oxidative stress and free radicals are the two biggest culprits of osteoporosis. Since coconut oil benefits include fighting such free radicals with its high levels of antioxidants, it’s a leading natural treatment for osteoporosis.
11. Chia seeds--Fatty acids found in nature are more balanced than the fats we typically consume in our typical diets. Chia seeds benefits, for example, offer both omega-3 and omega-6, which should be consumed in balance with one another. Chia seeds’ ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure make it extremely beneficial to consume for heart health.
12. Flaxseeds--An excellent source of omega-3s and phytonutrients, flaxseeds benefits include being packed with antioxidants. Before you use them alongside your other new anti-inflammatory foods, consider grinding them in a coffee grinder to ensure the digestive tract has easy access to their many benefits.
13. Turmeric--Turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, is its active anti-inflammatory component. Documented for its affects against inflammation in numerous circumstances, turmeric health benefits prove invaluable in an anti-inflammatory diet. The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds. It found that aspirin (Bayer, etc.) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) are least potent, while curcumin is among the most potent anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agents in the world. Due to its high anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is highly effective at helping people manage rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Can be taken in a pill form as well.
14. Ginger--Used fresh, dried, or in supplement form and extracts, ginger is another immune modulator that helps reduce inflammation caused by overactive immune responses. Ayurvedic medicine has praised ginger’s ability to boost the immune system before recorded history. It believes that because ginger is so effective at warming the body, it can help break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. It’s also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our body’s sewage system. In fact, ginger health benefits may even include treating inflammation in allergic and asthmatic disorders.

Healthy Recipe of the Month:
Gluten Free Vegetable Pizza

1-2 already made gluten free pizza dough (I love ‘Against the Grain’ brand frozen section)
1 cup of marinara sauce (use Pompi brand)
1 cup (lactose free) shredded mozzarella (use Go Veggie Mozzarella)
Any vegetable of choice (asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach)
Olives, Artichokes, Basil

Heat the oven according to package of pie crust, and put pizza stone in to heat up. Place pie crust on a pizza stone and cover with marinara sauce and your toppings of choice. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until crust is about the texture you like. Remove and serve. Makes a great gathering meal for friends and family.

Vegetable Pizza.png

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Same-sex divorce filings follow historic U.S. marriage ruling – Chron.com

Houston-area couples are taking quick advantage of their newly granted access to same-sex divorce.

Two couples filed Monday at the Harris County District Clerk's office, a spokesman said, and a La  Marque same-sex couple filed the same day at the Galveston County District Clerk's office, according to the Galveston County Daily News.

The filings came in the wake of Friday's historic ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court making it legal for same-sex couples to marry anywhere in the United States.

The La Marque couple had been awaiting the ruling since their separation in February 2014, The Daily News reported. 

Houston attorney Debra Hunt, whose firm of Moore and Hunt specializes in same-sex family law, said her associate Joshua Myers has been working on several divorce cases and is expected to file them by the end of the week.

While same-sex couples face essentially the same issues as straight couples who divorce, some things are more complicated, such as community property for couples who were together for a long time before their marriage was recognized in Texas, Hunt said.

"It's too simplistic to say, 'When is the date of marriage?' " she said. "There will be some that are fairly straightforward with little property accumulation, but I suspect that as we start dealing with cases, the complexities will start jumping out immediately." 

Another issue is the concept of common-law marriage. Same-sex couples who have been together for years can consider themselves married under common law, but only if they present themselves as married to the wider community, said Houston lawyer Mitchell Katine.

"I'm getting calls from people saying, 'Look, my partner and have been together for 20 years. Are we common-law married?' My question is, 'Have you ever told anybody you were married?' " Katine said. 

If they say, "No, because we weren't allowed to," then common-law marriage doesn't apply, he said.

"Gay couples who have been together a very long time might think they were considered to be married, but they're not because they never represented themselves that way, said Katine, who represented two men in a case that led to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2003 decision striking down sodomy laws.

A week prior to the national ruling on same-sex marriage, the Texas Supreme Court upheld a 2009 same-sex divorce in Travis County. 

In a 5-3 ruling, the state's high court sided against then-Attorney General Greg Abbott, saying the state had no standing to intervene and had waited t0o long in any case.

Source: Divorce - Google News

What Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner’s Divorce Means for Their Money: Lawyer … – E! Online

Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Oscars 2013

Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Oscars 2013Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck announced their plans to divorce just yesterday and fans are already wondering what the breakup means for the exes' multi-million dollar fortunes.

As E! News noted Tuesday, the actors' split announcement came just one day after the longtime couple's 10th wedding anniversary. So does their decade of marriage affect who gets more money post-divorce?

"The ten year mark is the period after which, in California, the marriage is considered a long term marriage," L.A. celebrity divorce attorney and co-author of Inside the Minds: Strategies for Family Law in California: Leading Lawyers on Developments in California Family Law Fahi Takesh Hallin tells E! News. "Normally the presumption is that spousal support or alimony is payable for a period half the length of the marriage unless it is a long term marriage which is ten years or longer. It no longer applies if the marriage is ten years or more, then you can ask relatively for endless support if you make less. If you make more, you can't ask for support."

PICS: Biggest celeb breakups

While post-split spousal support is still up in the air for Garner and Affleck, division of the duo's community property (the homes and assets they accumulated during marriage) doesn't depend on how long they were together.

"The ten year marriage makes zero difference. It is always 50/50 for anything acquired during the marriage," Hallin tells E! News. "That means whatever they earned or saved on projects they worked on. It could include residuals or royalties or money for appearances for instance. It is anything they earned on efforts they made during the marriage."

The fact that Garner and Affleck were separated for 10 months prior to their decade anniversary makes no difference either. "Generally if it is a trial separation the community property continues to accrue until the date that either of you decides the marriage is over. If it isn't a legal separation then the community property still accrues," Hallin said.

PICS: Ben's movie star roles

Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, 2012Raef-Ramirez/AKM-GSI

As for custody of their three kids, Violet, Seraphina and Samuel, length of marriage has no weight in the matter of custody.

Yesterday, a source told E! News that Garner and Affleck's divorce is "not contentious" as both parents want what's best for their children. "They will be co-parenting," a source says, adding that Ben will be living on their property in a different building.

PHOTOS: Look back at Ben & jen's relationship


Source: Divorce Money

Why it’s normal not to be happy all the time – Daily Life

Living in a world where there's an overemphasis on being happy can actually have just the opposite effect.

Living in a world where there's an overemphasis on being happy can actually have just the opposite effect. Photo: Stocksy

Take one look at your Instagram feed and you'll see it: an abundance of smiling faces and enviable activities. Turn on the TV, open a magazine, glance at a billboard and the results are the same. From ear-to-ear grins to endless laughter, it's like the whole world is happy all the time.

And yet that doesn't add up. Whether it's the sense that it all seems too good to be true, or the fact that more than 6 per cent of the Australian population is depressed, something about this joyful frenzy seems off. Maybe you've reassured yourself intuitively that no one can be that happy all the time. If so, you'd be right.

The Pressure To Be Happy

Living in a world where there's an overemphasis on being happy 24/7 can actually have just the opposite effect. "If you're too focused on becoming happier, it's going to backfire," says Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor and author of The How of Happiness.


She compares monitoring your happiness to monitoring weight loss: You shouldn't obsess about it daily, because there could be small changes from one day to the next. Plus, researchers now think some element of happiness is likely out of your control and left up to your genes. You know one friend who's just relentlessly happier than everyone else? That could be why.

But if your genes leave you in the "glass half empty" side of the spectrum, take heart. There's a whole school of thought called defensive pessimism that focuses on the upside of more negative thinking. It's based on the idea that setting low expectations and then specifically preparing for what could go wrong might actually lead to better performance and personal growth.

"People's happiness levels are just different from each other; and that's OK," says Alex Korb, a researcher at UCLA and author of The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time. Some people's brains respond more to positive events than negative ones, and vice versa. As a result, some people might just be happier - all the time.

Lyubomirsky also suggested picturing happiness on a scale of one to 10. Some people might naturally fall in the eight to 10 range, while you might be more of a six to eight. It doesn't mean you can't get your "happiness level" up, but it may be more natural for you to be mellower. Lyubomirsky stressed that the important thing was to focus on your own level of happiness - and not compare it to others. Think of it like a runner focusing on his personal best: Setting a personal standard and concentrating on that may lead to greater happiness than allowing yourself to be detracted by others' lives.

However, if you're constantly feeling down about your life, know there is a difference between a "mediocre" level of happiness and actually being depressed. Feeling sad, anxious or empty for more than a few days could be a sign that you should seek more serious help.

No Such Thing As 'Bad' Emotions

"There's this idea out there that our emotions are 'positive' or 'negative,' (but) I think all of our emotions are normal and adaptive and have a purpose or function," says William Breen, a clinical psychologist. "To use them all means we are living a rich, fulfilling life."

But even if you know you should use all of your emotions, it still feels like one gets priority above the rest. And that expectation of constant happiness is part of the problem.

"If you have an expectation that you should always be happy right now, then any moment of not being happy is sort of deeply dissatisfying and frustrating," says Korb. Furthermore, all those laughter-filled ads, TV shows and social media posts are changing our expectation of happiness. And when those high expectations don't match up with out reality, we find ourselves feeling down.

The key to getting out of the rut? Redefining your own expectations and not allowing your happiness to be dependent on the forces you can't control. "There's not a day that you just wake up and say, 'I've got it!,'" says Breen. "It's an ongoing process. We're going to feel down and feel sad and cry - and that's meaningful and important."

A Comparison That Needs To Stop

Another reason your feelings don't always jive with the world around you: You're comparing apples and oranges.

"There's an old saying, 'You shouldn't compare your insides to other people's outsides,' and yet we do that all the time," says John Sharp, a psychiatrist and author of The Emotional Calendar.

Whether you're looking at people smiling on TV or in a magazine, you're comparing your inner feelings to the way someone appears to be feeling on the outside.

"Human social connection is very complex. We are very attuned to the authenticity of other people's emotions," says Korb. "We have a trigger if someone is being inauthentic and that can have a jarring effect." So if browsing glamorous Instagram photos has left you feeling sort of empty, it could be that intuitive trigger.

Of course, we're all guilty of posting our coolest moments on social media. But there's a reason not everything is eye roll-inducing. Korb says feeling genuinely connected to others can have a huge impact on our happiness. Have a BFF you rarely speak to, but thinking of her always make you smile? Bingo. That's connectedness.

However, if your social feeds are crammed with people you vaguely know - or worse, if you feel a friend only posts updates to show off - this prompts that "inauthentic trigger". And as disconnectedness increases, says Korb, so does our frustration and annoyance.

Luckily, there are lots of ways to get happier. While experts admit technology and social media has its place, many suggest occasionally unplugging as a way to increase happiness.

"Step back and have a conversation with the people right around you, says Breen. "Technology has a wonderful role in our lives, but human connection is important."

Korb also suggested focusing on the parts of your life you're grateful for and setting up long-term goals so that small, daily discouragements don't seem so critical. "Have a sense of purpose - whether it's related to the people you feel connected to, a cause, your work, or your religion," says Korb. That guiding force can help mitigate immediate emotional fluctuations (like getting bummed out while checking out Instagram and Facebook).

The Bottom Line

You've heard it before, but it's true: Don't believe everything you see on TV (or on social media or in magazines). Ecstatic-dancing-at-Coachella-level happiness is likely impossible for anyone to sustain. So know that it's OK to feel down at times. After all, frustration, anger, sadness and all of your other emotions are part of a normal, satisfying life.

Source: Greatist

Source: Happy Living