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Fairview and Tips When Feeling Intimidated


Charles and I began September (my second favorite month, after October) by taking a road trip to Connecticut (and New England is my second favorite place, after our town in New Jersey). :)

Our destination was the Fairview Country Club in Greenwich, to spend the day with one of Charles's longtime friends from college, who is now a dear friend to us both.

Our friend invited another couple to join him as well. I was very saddened to hear that the other gentlemen didn't feel comfortable and was too intimidated by the surroundings, and he and wife declined the invitation.

I've been thinking about how easy it is for us to become intimidated. Although I felt comfortable during our time at Fairview, there have been SO many times that I've felt intimidated by a person or my surroundings.

Today I want to share with you my very first experience with intimidation, and how my mother Nadia gave me some great advice that I still use to this day.

I was almost five years old during the 1984 Olympics. I was enraptured by the figure skaters, and shortly afterwards I began figure skating lessons.

By the time I was eight years old, I had progressed enough that Nadia suggested I begin working with Peter Burrows. He is a legend among figure skaters, and was the top coach at my skating rink.

I told Mummy I didn't think that was a good idea. Mr. Burrows was a previous World Champion. He drove a fancy car. He was very wealthy. Sometimes he yelled at his pupils so loudly the entire skating rink could hear.

I was filled with nervousness and intimidation at the thought of Peter Burrows becoming my coach.

Wise woman that she is, Nadia gave me the best two-word life lesson I've ever had.

"Everybody poops."

When she said that I was shocked, because she raised me that there are certain words we never say and many things we don't talk about in public, the most private bodily functions being among the forbidden list.

But then Nadia said it again.

"Everybody poops. No person's value is more than or less than another's."

This time I started giggling, and my little eight year old heart was able to make the leap of understanding that every human shares not just the same basic body but the same material of their souls.

There may be people in your life that intimidate you, whether a relative, teacher, boss, colleague, or friend. Remember that their "soul material" is the same as yours. Their worth before God is equal to yours. And, yes, their private bathroom tasks are identical to yours. :)

I took lessons with Mr. Burrows for five years, until I chose to end my figure skating career. Having him as my coach was a very positive experience, and I am thankful for both the skating lessons and the life lessons that I learned from him.

Below are some pictures from our lunch at Fairview. Above is a gorgeous American beech tree that is on the grounds. Isn't that the most perfect climbing tree?! 




By: Kristia Markarian

Love Is Lovelier


Charles and I were both thrilled when we received this wedding invitation in the mail last week. (I have blocked out the name of the couple in respect of their privacy.)

Our soon-to-be married friends attended our...
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Peace Amidst the Politics


One of the most memorable quotes from Mother Teresa is when she stated, "What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."

This was not the answer that many were expecting. But oftentimes the simplest suggestions are the most profound. 

Peace must begin in our homes before it can spread to the world. And for peace to be in our home, it must first be inside each of us.

These are troubling times and there is great division in our country. This presidential election cycle is...
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Leisure Is Not Lazy


It is a common Buddhist practice to occasionally meditate on the possibility of your death within a few months. The purpose of this is not to be morbid or think negatively. The reason for this meditation is to increase gratitude and, if applicable, to make necessary changes to reflect your priorities.

It's often been observed that a person's final thoughts are never that they should have spent more time in the office.

In keeping with the meditation mentioned above, if you knew you only had...
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Reader Challenge: Social Media Envy


In the days after Mother's Day last month, I received several emails from ladies who felt that their day was insignificant when compared to what they observed among friends on social media. One example is from reader friend Annie:

I don't know if it makes sense what's been happening to me, but the more time I spend online the more miserable I feel. It seems like all my friends are living a better and more exciting life than I am, and I feel so jealous that it's overwhelming. 

Before I offer...
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Heart Whispers from Heaven


I've written before about being a Gold Star Sister and losing my brother, Sgt. Jon, in war. This has been devastating in a family as close as ours, but no devastation could be greater than our mother, Nadia. 

She...
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Ten Quotes to Inspire You to Love Your Body (Right Now, Just the Way It Is)


A few weeks ago Charles and I were away for a long weekend, and that Sunday we visited the local church. Within moments I had Church Choir Girl envy. What made her so mesmerizing was how comfortable she was in her own skin. 

You know that phrase, "Dance as though no one is watching"? Well, this lady dances as though no one is watching, when everybody is watching.

She moved her legs side-to-side to her own rhythm. She clapped and bopped up and down enthusiastically during upbeat songs. She...
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Black History Month Tribute: From Super Rich, to Slave, to Soldier

"Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emanuel Leutze (1851)


February is Black History Month! To do my part in providing a tribute, every Tuesday this month I will be sharing inspirational stories about an...
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Black History Month Tribute: The First American Female Millionaire


February is Black History Month! To do my part in providing a tribute, every Tuesday this month I will be sharing inspirational stories about an African-American who is not commonly known, in the hope that their remarkable lives will be a source of encouragement to you.

Let us begin with the lovely lady pictured above, whose image was placed on United States postal stamps in 1998: Madam C.J. Walker.

Madam Walker's story is truly a rags-to-riches tale. Her parents were slaves who had just been...
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Be Happy With What You Have


Over the last couple of days I've heard from several people how frustrated they are because they weren't able to stick to their New Year's resolution for the month of January. To this I have three encouragements.

First, perhaps it's time for what I call a Resolution Evolution. It's perfectly fine to allow your resolution to evolve into something else rather than what you originally intended. Many times when we alter our goals, they end up being even better.

Second, let us all be gentle on...
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Never Tell Someone Who Is Grieving To Get Over It


One of the loveliest ladies I ever had the privilege of meeting was named Mary. She was funny and feisty until she transitioned into heaven in 2012 at age ninety-two, and she had an incredible memory. Among her favorite things to talk about was her son William, who had died in Vietnam in 1969.

I met Mary through my mother, Nadia, as they both belonged to the New York state chapter of American Gold Star Mothers, an organization dedicated to supporting mothers who lose their soldier child in...
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Getting Through a Difficult Week


Winter Storm Jonas is causing many challenging commutes this morning, just as it caused difficulties over the weekend. The picture shows eighteen inches of snow on our patio table and chairs this morning. So I want to begin this Monday by sharing some extra-special encouragement.

For those who need a little humor to get through the rest of this week, I have a two-minute video from Doc Mike Evans to share. He is a family physician from Toronto, Canada and his soothing voice will guide you...
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Reader Challenge of the Week: How Do I Pray?


Welcome to Wednesday on CHONJ, where I attempt to best provide solutions to a challenge one of my dear reader friends is experiencing. I received the email below from Dale:

I didn't grow up with any religion and don't go to a church except for the occasional wedding or funeral. It's all very confusing to me. But as I've grown older I've been feeling that I should explore God a bit more and pray. But I don't know how to pray. Can you help?

One of the most elegant definitions of prayer I've...
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Martin Luther King and Melanin


There comes a time in every little child's life when, in their naturally innocent and curious way, they ask why some people look different than others. This may be because of skin color, or body size, or perhaps a physical handicap.

I clearly remember the day when my younger brother Jonny asked that question regarding shades of skin. The funny thing is, he never asked about people with skin darker than his. 

"Mummy, why is Sister's skin so white?" He gently poked my forearm with his finger.

It...
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Benedict and the Bengals


I have written previously about my fascination with General Benedict Arnold, who was among the most brilliant of the Colonial commanders during the Revolutionary War and who ultimately betrayed us and defected to the British side. Above is a picture of me walking along Benedict's Beach in Campobello Island, Canada where he lived for several years after the war. 

On Saturday afternoon Charles and I watched a film about Benedict called "The Scarlett Coat," which was made in 1955. This excellent...
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Reader Challenge of the Week: I Want to Avoid Christmas Commercialism but Don't Know How


Kindly note: In the spirit of inclusivity, I'm going to be writing about commercialism as it applies to everyone, whether they celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other winter holiday. 

Now that Christmas is a little over two weeks away, the general chaos of the season seems to have afflicted many of us. I received several emails about this disorder, and below is a compilation of some of them:

I completely agree with what you wrote in "Cease the Christmas Chaos." I want to avoid the...
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A Tale of Two Concert Goers

Now that we've spent so much time together and have gotten really close, I'm ready to share with you something that only my closest friends know: I'm a "Fanilow." Yes, that's right, I'm a huge fan of Barry Manilow....
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Why We Boycott Black Friday

The last year I participated in a chaotic Black Friday shopping excursion was in 2012. That was also the last Thanksgiving I was single. 

For our first married Thanksgiving weekend in 2013, Charles attempted to convince me to avoid the mall. He thought we should be concentrating on connecting as a family and not on the pressures of commercialism. But he reluctantly agreed to go with me, jokingly offering me physical protection from the throng of squeezing shoppers.

However, on that Black...
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Our Gratitude Pumpkin and Four Other Thanksgiving Traditions

This Thanksgiving will be the fourth that Charles and I celebrate together. In 2012, we were a new couple and in 2013 we were newlyweds. For both those years, we went to restaurants and celebrated with lavish buffets. But last year, in 2014, we decided to remain home and cook the Thanksgiving meal ourselves. We enjoyed that so much that we're going to repeat that this year, with Charles cooking the turkey, me making all the side dishes, and both of us baking the desserts.

Over these four...
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Cease the Christmas Chaos

Christmas is only 35 days away! Does knowing that fill you with delight or dread?

A few days ago Husband Charles suggested I write about keeping calm and centered during the winter holidays. He mentioned that more people have heart attacks on Christmas Day (and the day after) than any other time of the year.

I thought that was too awful to believe, so I did some research, and unfortunately that statistic is correct (here is one reference from CBS News). I also learned that the same is true for...
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Welcome!

I am glad you’re here!

This website is for ALL of us. CHONJ is a compassionate community that strives to be positive and uplifting as we help and connect with one another.


My name is Kristia Cavere Markarian. My husband, Charles Markarian, and I are soulmates who spend practically every minute of the day together. Our goal is that you feel better about yourself and the world every time you visit our website.


There are many challenging situations we are facing today, from being overscheduled and overwhelmed, to facing technological distractions. We want to assist you in navigating through all these circumstances, so you can become the best you are meant to be. We will help you become the hero of your life’s journey.

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