If I Knew Then What I Know Now . . . There is strength and promise within these pages to inspire any reader seeking to find quality of life. Join us on our journey as we courageously share our heartfelt stories about what we have learned through life lessons and trial and error. If I Knew Then What I Know Now is a compilation of our experiences, things we have done, observations we have made and what we have discovered. 

Author and Contributors:  Doreen L. Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC, Certified Professional Life Coach and Board Certified Healthcare Executive with contributors Rebecca L. Norrington, Joseph J. Farina, Laura Francomano Facini, Geena Bean, Heidi Krantz, Madeline Brady, Matthew Gelber, Christine Farrell-Guma, Jonathan S. Barrett,  Keith Richard Godwin, Ruth Curran, Tami Racaniello, Christie Korth, Jean Rose Castiglione, Laurence Dresner, Jeffrey Levy & Brian Cohen

Some of the Contributors of If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Some of the Contributors of If I Knew Then What I Know Now and Time to Play Professionals at our Book Launch Party on 6/10/2013

Who am I and who are these people who contributed to this book?  I, personally, am a 5’2″ woman from Long Island on a mission – I am a woman who has found hope.  After almost 48 years of life, I have realized it is up to me to enjoy my life.  I have realized I cannot blame anyone else, no matter how much I had tried in the past, if my life wasn’t going the way I wanted or if I was not happy.  In my quest to learn what I needed to know to enjoy life, I brought together a team of people from various backgrounds with different experiences and expertise. These people are REAL people. Everyday people.  People who have families, dreams, and hopes.  People who have lived through experiences that may not have been good ones, and people who have overcome obstacles to become stronger.  People who have learned something through their experiences and have been able to move forward in their lives.  People who, in this book, tell their real life stories in the hopes that even one person will listen to and learn from them.  I believe every one of us has power. I believe every one of us has something to offer that can help another. The contributors and I are the people who have bared our souls in this book with the goal that our story may provide the reader something that they can take away to apply to their lives.  We hope to plant a seed that might spark a change, a new beginning in YOU, the reader. You’ve heard the phrase “been there, done that”. I know we each have to learn on our own, but, perhaps one of our stories will give you an “Aha!” moment and save you a little time.  You never know…. after all, each day is a new beginning —


What is this book?  Why was it written? In one word, this book is POWER.  I realize life is a daily lesson and I realize that I keep learning things over and over.  I realize not every day is going to be a great day, but I realize it is up to each of us to do our best each day. I realized we are sometimes so hard on ourselves.  And, I have decided it’s never too late — not for any one of us — to learn what we need to make our lives better.  To CHOOSE to enjoy life, to change our thinking, to believe we are amazing, powerful, and that we have so much to offer to others.

Again, I believe each day is a new opportunity to learn what we need to know so we can enjoy life, and have realized we can let history repeat itself IF WE LET IT. I’ve decided to break the cycle — I KNOW you can break the cycle, too.


I have realized we can learn from others who have been there.  That’s why I asked people to contribute to this book.  Seventeen people, in fact, whom I have met along the way. Why?  I’m not an expert in everything, nor did I have all the experiences that these people have had (thank goodness!). I could never have written the chapters with the feeling they have been able to convey or the life lessons, experience and passion that they share without their contributions.

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  • By Editor Krystina Murray, Xulon Press

    General Overview:  This refreshing read allows readers to realize their personal power. The author provides practical methods and encouraging quotes while sharing insights on developing a positive attitude, practicing forgiveness and strengthening their willpower. This engaging read will call for readers to practice awareness of motives and destructive patterns while guiding them into reaching their potential.

    Manuscript’s Strengths:

    • This book is a great tool to remind readers of the importance of being in the moment. The author uses personal examples that are part of a busy productive lifestyle to create thoughtful messages. The author also incorporates outside sources, exposing readers to insightful books they can also use to supplement the reading.
    • The manuscript contains motivational tones that encourage readers to take accountability for their happiness. The author’s encouraging, passionate and informative tone creates a highly impactful reading. The author also includes inspiring quotes that are cohesive with chapter themes.
    • The author communicates with creative metaphors and poses penetrating questions, for example, includes many questions calling for readers to delve into themselves to uncover internal motives that influence external relationships.
    • This is an extremely valuable and engaging read. This book contains stimulating topics and insight on subjects of marriage, breakups substance abuse and provides readers with personal examples to illustrate major themes.
  • I am honored to have been chosen to be a part of this amazing quality of life project. This book is a testament to a single radiant Spirit who, years ago, visualized and set a goal to help more than one million people live a better Life. Doreen lives the mantra of “People Helping People”, and this book intensifies her vision and her dream. The stories written in If I Knew Then What I Know Now came straight from the souls of people wanting to help other people while, unknowingly, helping themselves in the process. These heartfelt stories will give you courage and inspiration to explore your own life–while loving and accepting others even more. Thank you, Doreen for your vision and for your tenacity. I’m one of your biggest fans!” – Love, Rebecca L. Norrington, Happiness Specialist P.S. You have already changed the world with this book.I would just like to say thank you so very much to Doreen for sharing her vision and her thoughts with us. I connected in so many ways throughout the entire book. All that contributed to the book and enlightened me even more. I felt such a connection from start to finish. It was a wonderful reminder of how there are many like minded people out there wanting to open up the eyes of so many more. I purchased 3 extra books, one for each one of my children. I have spoken to them throughout their yrs about living a life connecting to so many things that this book speaks of. Now they can actually read it and hopefully since it is not coming from me, they will see it on paper for themselves and can always look back to reflect on the powerful words that were written. I thank you all so very much!!! – Sincerely a Namaste to all, Janice Grote
  • When I was asked to contribute my chapter, “Breakup to Breakthrough” to “If I Knew Then What I Know Now,” I was excited to share my message in the hopes of empowering others experiencing similar challenges as mine. I never imagined how inspired I would be by the beautiful and honest words of wisdom of author, Doreen Guma as well as the deep and poignant insights of my fellow chapter contributors. Reading this book is a potentially life-altering experience. You will be motivated towards positive changes in your own life as well as to reach out to others in new ways. With role models such as Doreen Guma and the chapter contributors, every type of movement forward seems possible. Don’t miss this read which promises to get your creative juices flowing full of options for success. “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” brings a new level of love into your heart. – Heidi Kranz
  • I am very happy to be a part of a positive change and something very inspiring for people to be able to gain support from. I read your book and really felt uplifted inspired and renewed. It was really a great read. Believe me, ask anyone who knows me, reading a book that’s not mandatory is not my thing ha ha. But this book was well worth the investment. And I’m not just saying that! I am very eager to be a part of this journey. – Take care, Victoria
  • The book truly is amazing. If someone was searching for solace or an uplifting message this book is for them. I really think it has a message for most anyone. It would make a perfect stocking stuffer 🙂 – Sheila Korte
  • If you’re looking to improve your quality of life, be happier, healthier, and think better. This is the self-help book for you. Be prepared to take notes. There are also many memorable quotes you’ll want to write down on your favorite quotes list. The author Doreen has collaborated with colleagues to share personal hardship stories with the readers that have positively impacted their life. All in the hopes to bring hope, faith, and encouragement to live better and enjoy life. Each story is unique, informational, inspiring, and helpful. These various personal stories are all similar to experiences we can all relate to. Which lets the readers know they are not alone in their trials of life and can triumph. ”If I Knew Then, What I Know Now” truly encourages a positive shift and new awareness for the readers. Also encourages to believe in yourself and reminds the readers that anything is possible. May also help the readers realize self destructive behaviors. This book can help you discover the best path for your life; destination being happiness. There are many points in the book which are really important to take under consideration. To spread peace, people helping people. How pain can lead to a positive break through. That we are the cause of our own unhappiness. At anytime we can choose to let go of the thoughts that weigh us down and replace them with uplifting thoughts. That we are all connected. That improving ourselves leads to improving others. These points are just a few of the many important points to evaluate. – Jesenia SanabiaTable of Contents  


Note: The chapters in this book follow the Time to Play Philosophy with sections on Happiness, Health, Money and Work Life Balance.  Each chapter’s contributor has been listed following the chapter’s title.   Happy Reading!

Section 1: Happiness

Chapter 1: No Simple Solution – Doreen Guma

Chapter 2: We Are All Tortured Souls – Doreen Guma

Chapter 3: Quality of Life – Rebecca L. Norrington

Chapter 4: What Do You Dream About and What Are You Worth? – Joseph J. Farina

Chapter 5: Once Shy – Laura Francomano Facini

Chapter 6: Where Have the People Gone? – Geena Bean

Chapter 7: Breakup to Breakthrough – Heidi Krantz

Chapter 8: What I Have Learned After Many Years of Marriage – Madeline Brady | After note by Dr. Matthew Gelber

Chapter 9: Always Striving for the “Brass Ring” – Doreen Guma

Chapter 10: I Believe Everything Happens for a Reason – Christine Farrell-Guma

Chapter 11: Lost…Then Found – Jonathan S. Barrett

Chapter 12: From Hopelessness and Misery to Hope and Joy – A Story of Addiction to Laughter – Keith Richard Godwin

Section 2: Health

Chapter 13: Graceful Aging Brain – Ruth Curran

Chapter 14: Becoming Healthy After Forty Years of Being Unhealthy – Tami Racaniello

Chapter 15: Never Give Up Your Search for What Ails You – Christie Korth

Chapter 16: An Illness Does Not Have to Stop You from Living Life – Jean Rose Castiglione

Section 3: Finance / Work Life Balance

Chapter 17: Learning to Make My Money Work – Laurence Dresner

Chapter 18: What’s Right Works So Much Better Than What’s Wrong – Jeffrey Levy

Chapter 19: What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? – Brian Cohen

Section 4: Conclusion

Chapter 20: Digging Deeper – Doreen Guma

Parting Words – Doreen Guma

Contributor Biographies

Works Cited

About the Author