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Family Feuds, Quick Tips to Resolve Them

Families: they can be our greatest source of joy or a never ending cause of stress. Some might like to have a few parts replaced, others may prefer to trade theirs in for a more suitable model. Some are grateful to have a family regardless while others would prefer to travel through life solo. If you’re a member of a family, then you know how challenging it can be to deal with the wide scope of personalities, quirky behaviors, opposing viewpoints, different needs, beliefs, and values, along with varying methods of how members doing things. Being unskilled at even the most basic aspects of resolving conflicts, as most of us are, can result in minor differences escalating our stress levels and causing tempers to flare.
Below are some simple suggestions on how to fix family feuds. However, before engaging in the process, ask yourself the following questions: What has my role in this situation been? How have I contributed to the breakdown of our family unit? Is it my attitude, actions, words, or lack thereof? On every level, we are either part of the problem or part of the solution. I must first take inventory of my unconstructive contributions before I can expect to achieve any degree of success with other members.

Assuming I have successfully completely this task and corrected any transgressions , I can now proceed using the following strategies:

1. As respectfully as possible (it is always possible), clearly and succinctly identify the area that needs attention.
2. Remove all distractions such as all technology, small children or any projects you may be working on. This enables all parties to be fully engaged with one another.
3. Allow each party ample time to state what is on their mind without interruption. In this way, each individual will relax knowing they will have adequate time to express their thoughts and concerns.
4. Validate their perspective. Consider their feelings, needs, desires, and such as valid, even if you vehemently disagree with them. Listen with your heart, not simply your ears. It’s called compassion.
5. Ask questions to gain deeper insight into what they are saying.
6. Avoid criticizing or making fun of them. Be respectful at all times.
7. Avoid blame or accusations. Both are destructive and will sabotage any progress from occurring.
8. Inquire as to what they need from you for this issue to be resolved. Listen open mindedly and non-defensively. Discuss whether or not you will be able to accommodate their needs. Make any necessary adjustments.
9. State your position, needs, feelings, wants, etc. Express what you need from them in order to put this issue to rest. Make certain your requests are fair and reasonable.
10. Compromise. A “winner takes all” mentality is not a solution. All parties must feel satisfied in some way in order for the issue to truly be resolved once and for all. Thank them for taking the time to work through this issue.

Families will always disagree on things but our differences needn’t escalate to family feuds. Each member plays a vital role in the wholeness and integrity of the unit. When we learn to embrace the /uniqueness and giftedness of each individual, we can utilize those qualities to strengthen and enrich the whole. And we can finally live in harmony with and enjoy our families, free from fighting.

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Seasons Feedings Nov 19 on The Connected Table LIVE!

Mid November marks what we like to refer to as “The Feeding Season.” Magazines show pretty dishes of festive foods and everyone talks about what to drink at the holiday table.   We’re Giving Thanks to an abundant season for Italian white truffles, fresh cold water oysters on the half shell,  crisp Hudson Valley apples in the orchards near our home and an abundance of wine in our growing global cellar.

When it comes to Thanksgiving, is your favorite part of the meal the turkey or the sides?  Holiday side dishes take front and center on our show November 19, 2p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, when we interview award winning cookbook author, journalist and culinary educator, Rick Rodgers, who recently released The Big Book of Sides (Ballantine Books/$30.00).   Indeed,  it’s a big book content-wise filled with more than 450 recipes from traditional to inspired to Americana and ethnic. We’ve spent the last few weeks trying some of the recipes, often enjoying them as our main courses. Rick also suggests how to pair the sides with main courses and with special occasion menus.

Rick Rodgers

Rick Rodgers

Rick often works on the sidelines or, rather behind-the-scenes, as a recipe tester, consultant or co –author for other books.  He’s written corporate cookbooks for Williams-Sonoma, Kingsford Charcoal and Sur La Table.  He received an IACP Cookbook Award for The Chelsea Market Cookbook. His articles have appeared many magazines including Men’s Health, Food & Wine,  Fine Cooking and Bon Appétit which gave him a Food & Entertaining Award as Outstanding Cooking Teacher.

But when it comes to The Big Book of Sides he takes center stage in our book.



We’ve always been big fans of Beaujolais wines, especially the 10 appellation Crus, called the “jewels” of the region.  But it’s the Crus’ younger sibling, Beaujolais Nouveau, that captures the most attention over the holidays. Its arrival on the third Thursday of November is celebrated with as much fanfare as the first New Year’s baby.  And no one celebrates bigger and better than Les Vins Georges Duboeuf when it comes to “Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé

Franck Duboeuf

Franck Duboeuf

We’ll be speaking with Franck Duboeuf, co-proprietor with his father Georges, about this year’s Beaujolais harvest which we hear has been “blessed with ideal weather.”

Beaujolais is made from the region’s local Gamay varietal. By law the grapes must be hand harvested and the berries undergo carbonic maceration to extract the bitter tannins and retain the fresh fruit flavor. The wine is bottled and released six to eight weeks  days after harvest and then rushed to market in time for its official debut.  Beaujolais Nouveau uncorking ceremonies take place one minute past midnight on the third Thursday in November around the world. YouTube videos feature some of the most creative ways to uncork Nouveau, and we’ve experienced several. A personal favorite: Frank Duboeuf delivered the first bottles of wine on a Harley Davidson motorcycle with brigade of Beaujolais Bikers comprised of NYC chefs and HD Biker Club members.  Classic!

We’re curious to see what magic Duboeuf has up his sleeve this year to ring in the 2014 Nouveau and taste it ourselves at 12:01 a.m. on November 20.



THE CONNECTED TABLE BANNER WITH TIMESJoin Melanie Young and David Ransom on The Connected Table LIVE Wednesdays, 2p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on W4CY and i Heart Radio. Each week we bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behing the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality. Melanie and David are your Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.

The COLTS Method of Instantly Resolving Problems

We’ve all had our share of problems in life, some more than others but problems none-the-less. If you’re anything like me, you eventually grow weary dealing with and finding solutions to unpleasant situations. Rather than win the lottery, some might opt to have all of their problems vanish, never to reappear again – to live a life void of those wretched issues that devour our precious time, drain us of our emotional reserves, and sabotage our peace and happiness. Yet is it conceivable to think we can live problem free? Actually yes, it is. Let me explain.

Life is a series of events and experiences we must participate in for a number of reasons: perhaps we need to learn a valuable life lesson or the experience may be a necessary step in our journey towards a particular goal. Events may be intended to test our determination. Others enable us to tap into hidden potential necessary for our personal growth. Still others may appear simply to reward us for past efforts. Those we welcome with open arms, for sure. The others not so much. In any event, each plays a valuable role in who we become and the path our life follows.

I think most would agree that life would be easier and more enjoyable without problems to clutter up our time and deplete our energy. What few realize is that problems only exist in the mind – they are not a reality but rather a label we assign to a perceived unpleasant situation. Consider this: my husband and I share a home together and each winter endure the same amount of snow as the other. It must be cleared from driveways, sidewalks, and porches for obvious reasons. For him it’s a problem, for me a form of exercise. Same event, different experience. It’s all a matter of perception plus the labels we place upon said incident.

Consider using the COLTS Method of Classification (5 alternatives) to instantly resolve any future or existing problems. Is the situation a:

1. Challenge: is this experience here to challenge you to learn something new or to push you to achieve greater goals? Like a runner training for a marathon, accept the challenge with determination and enthusiasm, knowing you will emerge a better person.
2. Opportunity: perhaps God is ending one chapter of your life and directing you on a new path. Have faith, trust in His judgment over your own. “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah
3. Lessons: we all need a wake-up call sometimes. A loss, setback or betrayal can often teach us more than any book or trained professional could. Appreciate the opportunity to learn.
4. Test: unexpected interruptions in our life are often testing us to enable us to determine how important something or someone is. Examine your priorities and values to ascertain what really matters. Eliminate or limit that which is secondary in worth.
5. Situation: some things just are, plain and simple. We needn’t assign a classification or emotion to every experience we have. “It is what it is” can serve us well.

Rest assured, I am not suggesting we deny or ignore the situation at hand. We must still address the issue but can now do so from an entirely different perspective, completely redefining what it is and how we allow it to impact us.
I cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it. However, by simply re labeling it, the problem disappears and I’m left with five other options – COLTS (which, by the way, are adorable baby horses and who can be upset with them?). I can maintain a positive attitude and transform a outwardly depressing situation into one that is innocuous. And that, my friends, makes my life a whole lot easier.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @
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