New Jersey Myth Buster

Henry Hudson fresh springs where in 1609 entered in his diary that he and his crew drank from the water on his way up toward what is now Manhattan.

I always knew how beautiful Princeton was from my college years, but beyond that, when I thought of New Jersey, I pictured industry, smoke stacks and just plain urban industrial blight. So years ago it was with great reluctance that I gave up my career to follow my husband to New Jersey.

Well, that was forty years ago, and you will have to drag me kicking and screaming away from this Garden State. We have beautiful beaches, extensive rich farm land, horse farms, mountains for skiing and thousands of acres of trails for hiking and horseback riding. In other words, it is a hidden paradise just a few miles away from the Big Apple and all of the culture that it affords.

We live in a town that overlooks where the Atlantic Ocean and Raritan Bay meet at Sandy Hook and its hills mark the highest point on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. south of Maine.

For thousands of years, the original inhabitants were the Lenape, who lived in and along the cliffs and creeks of Atlantic Highlands. Henry Hudson and his crew drank from our springs and the Lenape traded with the Europeans and sold a group of English settlers an area that covered the entire peninsula, making them the first European residents of our present day borough. From that our borough grew into a 1.2 square mile paradise of church tent camps and eventually picturesque Victorian homes nestled among the rolling bucolic hills.

Today, from its hills and bayside, the Manhattan skyline can been seen. Out from its harbor, which is the largest on the East Coast, sail pleasure, fishing and commuter boats.

So, let those Jersey Shore kids who are not from New Jersey at all, try to give us a black eye in the land of reality television. We who live here in paradise know better.


Most of us know how to love others, but how good are we at taking care of the love of You, your most important self? From the beginning of time, women have long been caretakers of others and not so much of ourselves. Of course, there have been exceptions, (i.e. Samson’s Delilah who only feigned protecting her man and also several Shakespearean women I can think of) but the maternal instinct runs long and deep for most of us women.

My name is a derivation of Alexander and means protector of men. In my lifetime, unfortunately I have been guilty of living up to this meaning of my given name. Guilty not in the sense that it was a totally misguided mission, but it was an embodiment of my character that caused my own self-esteem much harm for a long time. A good life, a worthwhile life does not always have to mean constant self-sacrifice.

It took me a long time to understand that I could give and keep at the same time. Whether you agree with them or not, the Fox’s News Channel boasts, “fair and balanced.” I do know that it is easier said than done, but this is what we should be aiming for if we want to set our sails for a happy and complete life. I’m not too sure she was the best role model in her time, but the late singer Janis Joplin once said something that rings true with me. She said, “Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”



(Author’s note: If you have read my book “Behind The Magic Mirror“, you know I have faced the worst of challenges squarely, but there are other life events that may not be life-threatening, but are very real and immobilizing for many of us.)

Looking back at my life, I would say fear of change has immobilized me more than it should have. Too smart, too late? I don’t think so. I am still in a constant learning pattern in this life and I am about to turn a new page and move on. Both fearful and excited, I am ready to let go and let life show me a better path.

One of the biggest problems we can encounter when we consider making changes to our life is that brick wall we can’t seem to get over. Even though the changes we want to make will bring more happiness by considerably enhancing our lives, self-doubt and fear of leaping over that wall to the other side will still try and stop us in our tracks.

Why does this happen?

Now that’s a million dollar question, isn’t it? To leap is not only the action of leaping, but it is to hopefully hit the ground somewhere better than where you are at that moment. You can’t always gage it perfectly, but in the action of doing, you must not forget to realize that taking the leap is nothing short of an act of courage.

Realistically, most of us don’t get epiphanies. We only get a faint whisper, perhaps just the slightest of
urges. My big whisper, one that changed my life forever came not from within me, but from my mother years ago when she convinced me to audition for Romper Room. So fearful and so sure that I didn’t have any of the qualifications for the television show, I was focused on “what’s next” instead of what was first. I was afraid to believe in myself by holding myself accountable for the opportunity I was being given.

My mother’s whisper taught me that there is nothing more brave than filtering out the chatter (in my own head) that kept telling me that I was someone I was
not. She taught me that there is nothing more genuine than breaking away from the chorus to learn the sound of my own voice. Taking that first leap was nothing short of positive belief in myself. Needless to say, I got the job and it did change my life forever.

I don’t know about you but the ultimate feeling I want before I breathe my last is that I didn’t take advantage of opportunities because I gave in to my refusal to leap forward. My almost missing a life altering opportunity was my wake-up call that shook me out of my complacency. What will yours be? It is up to you to take your own leap of discovery into a new life.