A Random Act of Kindness

Filed Under All Posts, Connie Stetson | 10 Comments



—For Connie, experiences, big and small, make indelible images—

A few years ago on a vacation in Puerto Vallarta, my husband Lee and I spent a long, hot afternoon ambling and exploring the old colonial part of town. We visited craft stores, museums and art galleries, we walked up and down the cobbled streets, shopping and gawking, eating churros from vendors, listening to street music and doing other touristy type things until we were finally tired, steamy and thirsty. Read more

Winter Comes Again

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Group Posts | 7 Comments

fresh snow piled high along a cleared walkway besides a house

A neighbor’s kindness brings warmth to Christie’s Minnesota winter

The promise of a blanket of snow thrills me and fills me with… hope. The world outside becomes quieter and quieter as the snow deepens, it is time to go inside and contemplate the year past and the year to come. When the sound of a snow blower interrupts my thoughts, I look out and see my neighbour Scott making sure the entire sidewalk around my house is cleared. I am reminded what a privilege it is to receive and give help. We all feel and do better when we take care of one another. I promise to give and ask for more help this coming year. Who can imagine what new growth will appear when the snow melts in the spring?

What the Funk?

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Health | 24 Comments


“Free Your Mind” by Calisto

With a nod to P-Funk, Cathy tries to free her mind, so her ass will follow

I have always been a glass half-full kind of person. Now, firmly in my middle years, I’ve come to understand that life has its ups and downs and that staying the course eventually lands you just where you need to be. But lately, for almost three months now, I’ve been in a funk.

Why can’t I just stick my head in the sand like an ostrich, and shut out all sound and light? I can’t possibly do that when Tea Party extremists are shouting so loud. When cholera is killing earthquake survivors in Haiti (can they ever get a break?) When the number of women in government has reverted back a generation and poor Mr. Obama has to deal directly with folk who are, frankly, off their rockers. And while I too, am off my center—just when I start to regain my balance something throws me, and the downward spiral begins again.

Research has proven that people who practice gratitude regularly are typically happier and healthier. Believe me, I have so much to be grateful for. My octogenarian parents are still together and in good health, I have a job (even one that people envy), I have smart, interesting and loving friends and a warm extended family. I live in a beautiful place with nature in my backyard and one of the finest cities anywhere just across the bay. (Go Giants!) I’ve got access to world class culture, fresh healthy food and abundance—more than one can ever need. Read more

Horn of Plenty: Nuts and Chews

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Group Posts | 5 Comments

Marilyn Monroe, photo by Ernst Bachrach

Marilyn Monroe, photo by Ernst Bachrach

As Forrest Gump’s mother Sally Field once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

I like Thanksgiving and I’m a glass half-full kind person, so I’m picking the chocolates that I like, and with sugar-buzz-a-blazin’, here’s my “good chocolate” list—the things I’m feeling grateful for today:

Kindness rules.
I have a deep appreciation for kind people, and I adore random acts of kindness. I still smile thinking about that person in the car ahead of me who paid my bridge toll over a year ago. Just last week, an airport manicurist fixed my broken nail, free of charge. Whenever anyone holds a door open for me, they get a big “thank-you!” These acts, be they small or large, solidify my belief that people are basically good.

Young people rock. Read more

Gratitude for the Least Among Us

Filed Under All Posts, Carine Fabius, Group Posts, Politics | 2 Comments

First of all, I’m really grateful that this election is over.

Second thing is, after commiserating with a disheartened friend whose husband voted for McCain, let me say I’m really, really grateful that mine voted for Obama.  Perish the thought of having to fight about that seriously pesky issue in between wiseass comments about stray socks and dirty coffee cups in the kitchen sink.

Thirdly, and I swear this is the last thing I’ll say about this election, I’m extra grateful for no longer having to send diplomatic emails to undecided friends and relatives about why Obama was the better, more reasonable choice.  Diplomacy didn’t work; I still got called a “hater” for calling Sarah Palin dumb. Read more

Hokey Pokey Revival

Filed Under All Posts, Group Posts, Melissa Howden | 5 Comments

Photo by Cathy R. Fischer

Photo by Cathy R. Fischer

A new friend wrote to me recently and said, “Thank You for living fully.”

This caused me to pause.

On first reading my inclination was to discount her perception saying to myself,

“Oh I don’t really do that, I am just doing what shows up.”

Now I wonder why my first instinct is almost always to discount the great truths about my own Self. I imagine some of it to be a synapse, some kind of cultural game binding me (and I suspect many women of my, (all?) generations hold a mistaken belief that we are less, than we really are.  My grandmothers did it, my mother did it, so of course it stands to reason that I might follow suit.  Read more

Simply Giving Thanks

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Group Posts | 2 Comments

The uniquely American celebration of Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  When I started to write this blog I was trying to list all of the things I am thankful for.  Then it occurred to me how simple this annual celebration is.  Just before winter comes we are prompted to reflect on the all the wonderful stuff we have been given that blesses us physically and spiritually.

Times are tough, but we can choose not to dwell on the difficulties for a little while and simply enjoy and be thankful.  Let’s gather with our “families”—the definition is as broad and diverse as the world we inhabit—get out the board games, play cards, talk, laugh and share with everyone, youngest to oldest, and simply enjoy this precious time we have together.

I am thankful that this blog gave me the opportunity to think about the meaning of my favorite holiday.

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