Ackerman Institute Featured in O Magazine

>> Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Okay, so you know I like to review books and present information on Marriage Retreats and Workshops, right? Well, my former Family and Couples Professor, Dr. Peter Fraenkel, Director of the Center for Work and Family, at the Ackerman Institute, just released his new book Sync Your Relationship.

Ackerman Institute was recently featured in O Magazine: Here is the email sent to me:

"We are pleased to share the news that the Ackerman Institute is mentioned in this month’s O Magazine, Oprah’s magazine. Harriet Brown attended an Ackerman Institute workshop on forgiveness given by Fred Luskin and wrote the attached thoughtful article. It’s great to know we are inspiring people in many ways.

With best regards,"

© Ackerman Institute for the Family 2008 | Designed By High5studios
  • To read article, click on article below.
  • To visit website and purchase new book release, click here.


Life went on when the world ended.

>> Sunday, May 22, 2011

: ) I said my goodbyes the day before to all my friends and family.

For being a day when the world was going to end, it sure was busy for me.

We had three events and one change of plans. I took a shower and as usual put lotion on, in entirety except, I forgot to apply to my face, before of course I lotion my feet. So I rushed to put the lotion on my face and ran to get dressed. I decided to wear a skirt and dressed up as I would be going to a community event with a speech, luncheon and an educational show. The whole family went. On the way I complemented the teenagers who are part of the event. One young lady said, "You look so nice and then gave a glance at my nice shoes." I had an urge to look down at my shoes and saw my legs look beautifully shimmered but my feet were white from dryness! UGH! I forgot to put lotion on my feet!

I was just too embarrassed. The lotion I always leave in my bag; I must have taken it out. I couldn't remember why I would do such a stupid thing. I went in with my husband and he didn't even notice, neither did my kids who would have loud mouthed it unaware that other people could hear them. I was safe for now. Two hours past and I was now late for my 2nd cousin's recital. I promised for a whole month that I would be there. It was now the time her recital would start and the lunch was at the end of the speech/presentation. My kids were hungry and thank God they announced we could start eating. You know it. Yes I was the first one up. Who cares what people think when you have to feed your kids and yourself right? I didn't want to leave hubby out (You know how that is), so I made like a good wife and asked him what he would like for me to put on his plate. He apologized for the situation, which was considerate of him. Then a gentleman made a comment about "someone has to get this thing started, right?" I had to think about that one and hope he was including himself as a partner to my impatience.

I grabbed my can of coke, told my husband it was time to go and we were in the car. While he was putting something in the trunk I had this great idea. Why don't I pour the soda on top of my feet to relieve the dry look from the shower. No time to think consequences, the sugar and caffine should put moisture into my skin and it did! It worked the whole night! Who would have guessed, and no stickiness (except on my hands but you can wipe it off with napkin). I was an hour late and the embarrassement countinued to hang over me; now because I might have missed the whole thing. My husband dropped me off with the camera and I was able to see the last half hour. It was great. I saw my cousins and took pictures. When my boys picked me up, it was a great mini family reunion.

Next was a BBQ for my husbands family but instead my father in law wanted to stay home and it was his birthday the day before so my husband and his brother decided to bring the party to him and get him all of his favorites. It was a nice evening and I ended up seeing basketball which was different for me. I really got into it. I started acting like a coach for the loosing team. "Where is their passion", "Why doesn't the coach call a time out and talk to these guys", "Does anyone know how to shoot on this team". It was a pitiful game and everyone was surprised that I was so involved, even myself. We went home tired and I dropped into my bed.

So the world ended for me, in a good night sleep.


Longest 12 Minutes

>> Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It seems that every mother has a story similar to my longest 12 minutes. I hate even writing about it as it still puts a pit in my stomach just remembering the day. I was on another blog reading about the time when this woman's son was missing in a department store and how she felt when he was not with her. Thank God she could tell her audience of how she felt when she found him. I have heard many stories before it happened to me. The most scary was in a theme park and I was going to tell you the account but it is too scary as the child was actually taken. I will save you heart ache and let you know the child was found. Then again I guess you should know as you could be aware of the perpetrator's sneaky tactics.... The theme park security took the couple to a station with hundreds of monitors and said you have 12 minutes to find your child or they will be gone forever. They frantically searched as looking for a pin in a hay stack. Until the mother uncertainly pointed to a child she thought was hers but was unsure. It almost looked like a boy. The security at the gate in which they were about to leave stopped the gentleman described with the child who looked like a boy. He was arrested when the parents arrived, noticing he had taken their little girl to the bathroom, cut her hair, dyed it black and put boy clothes on her.

(If you are to distraught after reading this, it may be too much for you to continue reading another account). It was a hot July afternoon and a my family and I took a trip to a beach in New York. My sons went with my husband to get ice cream. I was so happy to have time alone. They had been gone for a short while until I became uncomfortably afraid. I heard someone scream "Honey". I jumped up and did not see my husband or anyone calling for me. I kept looking because I knew what I heard. Then my husband came into view and my older son running towards me. He said my younger son (who was three and a half, at the time) was missing. My stomach fell to the ground. I scanned the beach and was overwhelmed with the all the people on the beach. I remembered the story of the theme park and started praying to find my son. My husband went to the police station and my oldest said they had gotten ice cream and when they went to throw away their sticks he was gone. Panic took over and I was hyperventilating, praying and crying. I scanned the parking lot and the board walk. Nothing. I thought of all the missing children and I swear at that moment I prayed for them also. I thought of never bringing him home to his bed and the last thing I said and the fact that he does not know a contact telephone number or address and that his mother's name is "Mommy" without a last name. I almost dropped dead and died right on the board walk. Then before I dropped, I saw through the crowd, my husband like a prince walking and tightly holding my baby close to his chest. I ran through the crowd with my other son and my husband whispered in my youngest son's ears. He turned around and I saw his gorgeous smile. He jumped down and ran towards me. There was no one else there but me and him and when he reached my arms a feeling of energy and completion engulfed my insides and I hugged him crying and falling to my feet for I literally had no strength to stand. I could not talk and he kissed me several times in my face and I couldn't speak. People watched us as I scooted from the floor to the steps and held my son for what seemed to be an hour. We all sat on the steps and I managed to get out "where did you find him" and my husband said two men where bringing him to the security office. I told my son how scared I was that I had lost him and he said he went to throw away the ice cream stick in the garbage when he turned around he didn't see his brother or father so he went looking for them. He said the two men or I call angels, asked him if he was lost.

I didn't get to ever thank those two angels, but my husband did. And they made sure that my youngest confirmed that he was his father. When he came home that night I was still in shock that he made it to his bed. I think I slept with him for half the night. I made sure my information was always attached, written or pinned to him. I went over rules that they both follow if ever there is an emergency. My older son became his brother's keeper as he was not that way before the incident. My husband and I pray more deliberately about their safety, lives and future. They began praying for others especially missing children, children in poverty and children without parents. We are much closer since the incident. Today my youngest is 6 years old, loves Math and has a habit of saying "Mom I'm right over here, okay?"( because he knows I'll go crazy looking for him). If I call him he comes right away and never misses a beat. "Here I am". When I look back at that day I know there was divine intervention as my husband says he never called me on the beach. It was easier to get my attention out of all those people on the beach, when he saw me looking up from 50-75 feet away. Also I had calculated the time from when he was missing from our family; 12 minutes exactly, from the time my husband left to find him, to when the two angels returned him. It was also 12 minutes where I literally died on the inside and was resurrected when holding him. This year he said "Remember when I was missing?" I said , "Yeah, lets' not talk about it". I grew gray hair within those 12 minutes. I developed a mental disorder within those twelve minutes. He has said, "I am so happy you found me". Today I am a better person. Just from his last statement, I am motivated to being an advocate for children. This is my goal in life. All because of 12 long minutes.


Let Them Shine

>> Monday, May 02, 2011

Have you had someone give you a compliment about your spouse or your children and you agree yet find a "true but" to add to the conversation. I have been guilty I must say. I have heard spouses and parents hear positive feedback then agree or say thanks, followed by "but you should see them at home, true but have you spoken to their younger sibling, their alright, now if I could just get them to..., yeah, but you don't live with them, are you talking about my child, she/he can when they want to be, after I had to reinforce it a hundred times"...etc.

Why can't most of us just say thank you and accept the compliment. What is with the assumed unconscious need to make the other person look bad. How was this habit developed? In some cases it makes one look good or getting credit at the expense of the person being praised. What is this all about? Let the person have their day in the sun. It is healthy for us to be praised and for our loved ones to support us by allowing the praise to positively motivate them to continue on the path of "betterment".

It's almost like when you get an "A" or "B" on your exam and your parents say why didn't you get... (a higher grade). Where is your "good job" for all the work you did? Why be told, "but next time....", when right now you did great. This is much more motivational for taking the initiate to have self improvement if those you love are proud of your efforts. So the next time family members do well, speak well of them to others about what they did without including what they could work on, especially if someone else tells you they have done well. Take pride in it. Take yourself out the equation. Reflex to say they are good at what you are saying and they are also good at.....There will be appropriate times to discuss what they can work on but during the time of complements, let them shine.