JAN 2018

(508) 795-1557 | www.mediationadvantage com LIFE IN BALANCE

family structure whatever you want it to be! Give yourself permission to do that. Don’t restrict your idea of family to somebody else’s definition.

Our family is the people we choose. Sometimes that means mom and dad living in two separate homes. Sometimes it means two dads raising their children. Sometimes it’s mom and grandma coming together with aunts and uncles to make a family. If you ask a child what family means to them, they might tell you about their school family, or their mom or dad’s household. Whoever it’s composed of, it takes a complete village to raise children.

“But we can control our individual mindset and our impact on our parents, children, siblings, and the people we choose to surround ourselves with.”

Let’s let go of the outdated American dream comprising three kids, mom, dad, a cat, and a dog. It’s a different reality than most of us know. Instead of getting caught up in the label of what a traditional family looks like, envision what your family looks like. Start by actually picturing it, even if it’s not a reality yet. You might try a vision board to give yourself inspiration and have visual reminders of the life you want to lead. While they might sound a little silly, science tells us otherwise. Like Olympic athletes who envision themselves on the gold medal podium, envisioning your idea of family can make it a reality. My life’s purpose is to help families enjoy and appreciate their circumstances. Let’s be real — I get that a lot of the world isn’t “Pollyanna” happy. Every day, we’re bombarded by negative news. We can’t control what’s happening on a systemic level. But we can control our individual mindset and our impact on our parents, children, siblings, and the people we choose to surround ourselves with. I’m here to help you in the process. I want to give you a place to cultivate the life you desire. That’s why our monthly newsletter is back! I’m excited to share my perspectives as an attorney, mediator, and someone who has seen many unique examples of family. I’m here to help you find what works for you . Join me in rediscovering family and cultivating it together.

When I think about my family today, it’s different than I imagined it would be when I was a little girl. We’re spread across the United States. One of my daughters lives in Alaska and works as a traveling nurse. Her job calls her to go where she’s needed. One lives in Los Angeles, and my other daughter lives locally. Because of our locations, we won’t do traditional family gatherings. Instead, we make our own traditions. When we can’t be together, we find alternate ways to communicate, like Facetime. This month, we’ll enjoy time together after most people have had their celebrations. It’s all about creating our own definition of family. FAMILY IS WHAT WE MAKE IT

Until next month,

-Polly Tatum

For any family or individual who’s adapting to a new normal, it’s time to create fresh traditions. Just think, you have the freedom to make your

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to Eat Healthier Than Ever

Do your kids get enough nutrients in their diet? If they’re like most kids, the answer is probably no. You want your children to eat more vegetables and less processed junk, but that’s easier said than done. Getting the average kid to chow down on a serving of broccoli is a chore.

strips and layer them as you would typical pasta. The same can be done for other pasta dishes. Zucchini noodles made with a spiralizer — also known as “zoodles” — make a mean substitute for spaghetti. Pair them with your favorite marinara sauce or toss them in a slightly less decadent, but still delicious, alfredo. Vegetables can also be incorporated into other foods your children already know and love. Did you know you can make brownies with avocado and black beans? Slipping in a few healthier ingredients here and there can deliver the nutrients your kids need to power through a busy school week. If you want to foster long-lasting healthy eating habits, the best thing you can do is offer your child some agency. For example, saying to your child, “You can have the cauliflower or the broccoli. It’s up to you!” empowers them to make their own decision based on their preferences. Psychologists and social scientists, including the famed Dr. Maria Montessori, argue that when kids feel in charge of a decision, they are more likely to embrace the ability to choose, even if it’s between two kinds of vegetables. Ultimately, as a parent, you are in control of your child’s diet. Help them explore new foods and foster a positive culinary environment. Your kids will develop a taste for healthy eating in no time!

Food manufacturers have built an entire industry around our kids’ penchant for sugary cereal and fast food. However, a diet of processed foods can lead to a host of problems, including hindered brain development and even behavioral issues. A study in the American Journal of Public Health found links between poor diet and the development of depression in kids and teens. So, how can you encourage your kids to eat healthier foods? One way is through presentation. A mound of plain old veggies is unappealing, whether you’re 10 years old or 40. The solution is to think of vegetables as an ingredient rather than as a stand-alone dish. Take lasagna, for instance. You can easily modify this beloved Italian dish. Instead of using lasagna noodles, slice zucchini into thin, noodle-like FINDING PEACE OF MIND for Your Family’s Financial Future If you could design your ideal life, what would it look like? Where would you live? What usually comes to mind are the features right in front of you. You might imagine the interior design of your home, which you’ve curated through a Pinterest board, or the neighborhood you live in — aspects of your life that you see every day. What you might not immediately think of is designing your financial future, but it’s an important part of making your dream life a reality. It might sound strange to think about it that way, but you’re probably in the best position right now to prioritize your desires for your future. Has your situation recently changed? You might want to update the beneficiary for your will. If you’re going through a divorce, your spouse will remain the beneficiary on your policies unless you make a change. If you have kids, you may want to think about kids protection planning. Putting measures into place now will ensure peace of mind later. HOW IT WORKS We’ll schedule a two-hour family wealth planning session so I can get to know your goals and concerns. Before our meeting, I’ll ask you to do a little homework so we can maximize the time we have together. Both spouses should be present at the session if you are married.

Financial planning can be daunting, especially during divorce. That’s why we’re here. We can help you and your spouse effectively plan for your financial futures while preserving the assets you have. If you or a loved one are in need of estate planning, we are here to help. As an attorney with an LL.M. in estate planning, I have experience with wills, kids protection planning, living wills, health care proxy, and trusts. You can reach me at 508-795-1557 or

Don’t wait for your estate to end up in probate or for a life-changing event to make you realize that you don’t have a plan in place for your family. 2


Grief often hits us after the loss of a defining relationship. Most of us have heard about the five stages of grief and their role in how we might feel: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But knowing how we should feel doesn’t always help us process those feelings. We might need to reflect more deeply to understand what we are experiencing. If you’ve experienced a loss, here are three questions to ask yourself to help with the healing process. WHAT HAVE I LOST? Loss can take many forms. It might be the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a separation or divorce from someone we loved or still love, but can no longer continue a relationship with. Defining what you’ve lost may help you begin to heal from it.

new house — involves loss. The process of healing requires understanding and eventually accepting the loss. WHAT IS GRIEF? Grief is the culmination of emotions you go through in response to loss. You might experience them in the standard five stages, but you may experience them in a different order than someone else and for different lengths. HOW CAN I HEAL? I know this sounds hard, but in order to move on from grief, you have to experience it. It might mean going through many painful and emotional ups and downs. Remember that as much pain as you are in, and even when it doesn’t feel like it, you will survive. There is no single right way to express your grief. At a time like this, it’s most important to surround yourself with loved ones who you trust. If you feel overwhelmed by your grief, it’s important to talk to a health professional and not feel burdened to resolve your feelings by yourself. We know many counselors and mental health professionals in our area and can refer you. You are not alone. Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

What this question also might illuminate is that even a change you perceive as positive — for example, moving to a

MONTHLY CHALLENGE JOIN US FOR 30 DAYS OF BLISS COMMITTING TO HEALTHY HABITS TOGETHER We all want to be better in the new year. We want to get stronger, be faster, live smarter, and manage our time better! But it’s hard to stay motivated and committed when we look at the big picture. So we’re breaking it down and asking you to join us in a challenge. Each month, we’ll challenge you to participate in an activity for 30 days. It might be five minutes of meditation, 30 minutes of yoga, or writing down something you’re grateful for every day. Whatever it is, we’re challenging you to stick with it for 30 days and see the changes it sparks. January’s 30-day challenge is all about listening. If you haven’t heard of Abraham-Hicks, prepare to be wowed. For 30 days, we’re listening to their teachings. You can find their recordings on YouTube and iTunes. A while ago, I started listening to some of their recordings each morning, and they have changed my outlook. I’m eager to hear if it has the same results for you. I’d love to hear about your progress, so please reach out if you want to share how it’s going, or if you are looking for encouragement. “The only thing that makes the difference in the way you feel right now is the thought that you are thinking right now.”


Want to spruce up your morning yogurt? Top it with this tasty granola. Even better, swap out the dairy for coconut yogurt and enjoy your vegan breakfast.


• • • •

1 cup rolled oats 1/4 teaspoon salt

• • • •

1/3 cup pistachios, chopped

1/4 cup coconut flakes 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon coconut oil

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/3 cup goji berries


1. Heat a large skillet over low heat. Add oats in a thin layer and toast for 1–2 minutes. Add coconut oil and salt, then stir. Continue toasting for 5–7 minute, stirring occasionally. 2. Add maple syrup 1 tablespoon at a time; stir to coat. 3. Once oats are toasted, add

pistachios and coconut flakes are toasted but not burned, for about 5 minutes. 4. Remove from pan and stir in goji berries. 5. Let cool and enjoy as a snack or on top of your yogurt!

pistachios, coconut flakes, and cinnamon. Cook slowly until


Recipe inspired by

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19 Cedar St Worcester, MA 016069

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What Family Looks Like in 2018

Trick Your Kids Into Healthy Eating

Finding Peace of Mind


Are You Ready to Move On?

The 30-Day Challenge

Start the Day Right With This Granola


Escape to Nicaragua

forests surrounding the peak are a sight to behold. Adventurous travelers can board down the side, reaching ludicrous speeds as they teeter and try not to fall. In fact, it’s almost impossible to travel anywhere in the country without seeing an “I boarded a volcano” T-shirt. If relaxing on a pearlescent beach is more your speed, take a short boat trip out to the Corn Islands. There, you can amble around the small towns bordering the shockingly blue Pacific, visit a number of laid- back seafood restaurants, get scuba certified for a fraction of the price anywhere else in the world, or just read your book as you swing in a hammock by the waves. You can also visit the gorgeous, alabaster Our Lady of Grace Cathedral in “new” Léon. The biggest church in all of Central America, this unique Baroque and neoclassicist structure was built in 1814. Visitors can climb onto its roof (as long as they don’t wear shoes) and bask in the view of surrounding volcanoes (including Cerro Negro). If you’re planning on heading to Nicaragua, it’s best to do it soon. Neighbor Costa Rica often overflows with tourists, and instead of wading through the crowds there, many travelers are catching on to what Nicaragua has to offer. ESCAPE TO NICARAGUA The Country That Has Something for Everyone

After the hectic holiday season, many of us feel like we need another vacation just to unwind. Luckily, January and February are two of the best months to travel. Flight prices plummet and crowds thin out after the Christmas rush. If you’re looking to escape the dreary winter weather, there’s no better place to visit this season than Nicaragua, the “Central American country that has it all,” as Condé Nast Traveler puts it. Whether you’re looking to explore the rainforests surrounding the Río San Juan or get lost in the quirky-yet-beautiful architecture of Granada, there’s something for everyone in this tropical wonderland. One must-see destination is the Cerro Negro volcano. Just a baby at 150 years old, it’s one of the most active volcanoes in the region. It only takes about an hour to scale its smoking, black gravel surface, and the verdant 4

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