Friday, July 23, 2010

Inspired Author Encourages Soulful Parenting

In many ways, Wilmette educator and author Annie Burnside, M.Ed, is a typical, down-to-earth mom. She drives a minivan, reads to her kids, blasts music while cooking dinner, and isn’t above grabbing a drink with her girlfriends.

What’s different about Annie is that she infuses even the most mundane tasks with spirituality and joy and guides her three children to do the same.  Annie calls her van the “Spirit Mobile”, chooses the music she rocks out to for its uplifting themes, and sees a simple trip to the grocery store as an opportunity for enlightenment.

Annie is on a mission to raise spiritually conscious children, and in her new book, Soul to Soul Parenting, she encourages the rest of us to do the same.  Judging from her radiant appearance and infectious laugh, the chick is on to something big.  Annie exudes good vibes.

A former elementary teacher and longtime student of metaphysical and spiritual principles such as those espoused by Eckhart Tolle, Annie experienced such joy and fulfillment from her own spiritual awakening that she had to share the process with her husband and young children.  Based on her experience, Soul to Soul Parenting provides a practical, non-denominational framework for families to integrate spirituality into everyday life.

Sigh, I can hear some of you thinking, it’s hard enough to get my kids to do their homework and pick up their clothes!
Relax. Soul to Soul Parenting is not some rigid system. Annie invites readers to choose from the themes and methods she presents to find what works for them. And anyway, most of her recommendations are fun!

From holding family meetings and creating rituals to appreciating nature, art and movies, Annie’s goal is that families to “crank up the joy” and tap into a higher level of consciousness. She also presents universal themes to explore - such as compassion, empathy, self-love, gratitude and forgiveness.

“My goal is not to overwhelm you with your already full parenting plates,” she says, “but to empower you to broaden and enhance your family’s spiritual life and lead the way for your children to become conscious of a larger life perspective than the physical senses allow.”

For more information on Annie Burnside, her book and her work as a soul nurturer, visit her website:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's fun, it's healthy, and you're never too old for it...'s sex of course! Check out my recent article from

Sexy at Every Age

In the 2003 movie “Something’s Gotta Give,” audiences were surprised and delighted to see Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson get steamy between the sheets.
Last year, audiences were titillated by Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin’s lusty bedroom antics in “It’s Complicated.”
The popularity of these movies underscores two things: 1) mature adults (especially women) are all too rarely depicted as passionate or sensual in the media, and 2) people with their AARP cards are still very interested in getting it on.
Sex for the health of itWell, why not? Healthy adults can have pleasurable sex lives at any age, and they should. According to Wilmette internist Dr. Todd Newberger, sex is always good for you.
“Physical intimacy is an enormous part of healthy adult relationships,” he says. “It helps people maintain closeness and feel young and vibrant.” And there are real health benefits as well. “If the equipment is being used, it is likely to keep performing well.”
Sex is particularly beneficial to men – it keeps their prostate healthy. Newberger will jokingly write prescriptions for men over 65 saying “more orgasms” to take home to their wives.
Older couples have advantages when it comes to maintaining an active sex life. With their kids grown, they have more privacy and time to focus on their relationship.
Mamie, 66, from Deerfield, says of her marriage to Ted, 62, “An important part of our identity as a couple is that we are lovers.” Yet, she admits that when she and Ted visit kids and grandchildren, it’s harder to wrap her mind around sex. “Ted will say, `I can see you’ve switched into mother mode now.’”
However, the physical changes that come with age mean that mature adults have to change their attitudes about what comprises a satisfying sexual encounter. Certain positions or activities may become less comfortable or even impossible. And while Viagra has helped men maintain their vigor, women don’t always appreciate its one-sided benefits.
Dr. Newberger encourages his male patients to include their wives in the Viagra decision and reminds them, “There isn’t just one way to satisfy your wife.”
Mamie and Ted enjoy being creative. They’ve both had hip replacements, so they can’t swing from chandeliers, but they aren’t shy about integrating videos or battery-operated devices to perk things up. Mamie bought some special lingerie to surprise Ted on their anniversary. “It’s important to keep things fresh,” she says.
Men and women who become single after many years of marriage can find the current sexual landscape both confusing and exciting. The rules of courtship from their youth no longer apply.
While the abundance of partners and relaxed sexual mores might be fun to experience for the first time, sex at any age comes with risks. According to Newberger, the incidence of sexually transmitted disease (STDs) in retirement communities is the same as on college campuses. In other words, sexually active older adults no longer have to worry about pregnancy, but they still have to act responsibly.