Gifts from the Heart

giving hands

Are these hands giving, or are they receiving?

This holiday season, and every day for any reason, share these gifts and enjoy many happy returns.

  • Attention – take the time to put other things aside and to truly focus and listen.
  • Laughter – appreciate humor and laugh until you’re in tears (I do it regularly).
  • Sharing – most of us have more than we need – keep resources of all kinds in circulation and share your time if you have nothing else.
  • Growth – keep learning, exchange knowledge and invest in yourself and others.  Recognize and nurture potential, mentor and encourage others.
  • Warmth – Stop for a moment to see those around you and share a smile, a kind greeting or a hug.  Become a bright spot in someone’s day  or a radiant beacon.
  • Patience – Take a deep breath.  Instead of impatience and anger, offer assistance.
  • Forgiveness – This is the most difficult, but the best gift to yourself.  Let the anger go, or use the energy to help others through your experiences, wisdom and understanding.

These gifts cost nothing but time and intention, are easily shared and make a lasting impression.  Share freely and watch the results!

New Year’s Revolution


Every year about this time we start thinking about January and how this year will be different than all the years before.  We bring out the same old resolutions, dust them off, maybe add or subtract.  My annual list usually looks something like this:

  • Exercise more
  • Lose weight
  • Learn Spanish

A resolution is nothing but a “firm decision to do or not to do something,” and a decision is ineffective without motivation, meaning or a plan.  Lacking specific tasks and tactics and operating without clear vision, we quickly lose steam.

Sometimes it’s not necessary or desirable to make a change, and sometimes a complete overhaul is needed.  There is a spectrum ranging from reflection and resolution to renovation and reinvention.

I choose renovation.


Renovation is defined as the act of improving by renewing and restoring.  It is a good refresher, a new perspective, some polishing and cleaning up what is no longer useful.  It’s starting with a good base and seeing the potential.  And renovation suits me right now.

Dates, years and calendars really have nothing to do with our personal cycles of growth but we make the list each January nonetheless.  In my case, change this time has less to do with the new year than a different set of personal circumstances.

So I accept the challenge and embrace the opportunity for renewal.  I’ll make it up and make it happen.

Where are you on the spectrum?  Resolution or revolution?

I’m Dreaming of a Skype Christmas

I'm Listening

I’m Listening

When I was growing up, my dad’s family lived in a small town where relatives lived within a couple of square miles of each other.  Mother lived next door to daughter, separated by an alleyway.  Aunt lived next to nephew and down the street from her sister.  The family whose house was just beyond the tiny bridge that defined the city limit was considered “out of town.”

Those days are gone.  Or, should I say, they never existed in a real way for the family beyond that small, geographically limited cluster.  Now, family members are dispersed across the U.S., North Africa and Europe and tiny factions of our extended clan will be dining together.  But we will take a few moments to reach out and Skype someone this holiday.  The image may be less than optimal and the connection and quality may waver.  The computer may even crash, as it does on occasion.  But thank goodness for Skype, Google Hangout or whatever the means to see and hear our loved ones far away.

24 Secrets to a Long and Happy Marriage

In honor of our 24th anniversary on September 24th, I’d like to share 24 secrets to a long and happy marriage.

24 Secrets to a Happy Marriage


  1. Consider each day together as a gift.
  2. Start the day with a walk and a talk.
  3. Listen.
  4. Mind your manners.  After 24 years, we still say please and thank you.
  5. Laugh often.
  6. He mows, I trim.  We each do our part and appreciate each other.
  7. Be honest but not hurtful.  No poison darts.
  8. Discuss your ideas.  After all this time we still haven’t run out of things to talk about.
  9. Encourage each other to dream and grow and even change.
  10. Difficult times and decisions are easier when you share your fears and are supportive.
  11. Plan together and look forward to shared experiences.
  12. Be here now and appreciate the moments that make up a marriage.
  13. Treat each other with respect and consideration.
  14. Take care of yourself and make healthy choices that promote wellbeing and positive energy.  It’s good for you and good for your relationships.
  15. Value individuality and a different perspective and realize that soul mates still have separate minds.
  16. It’s ok to disagree and even better to meet somewhere in the middle.
  17. Open your eyes and truly see the person your partner is and has become.
  18. Celebrate family as often as possible.
  19. Enjoy intimacy.
  20. Share plenty of time together but have some time apart.  It’s nice to miss each other.
  21. Find new interests and try something different.  Boredom is not sexy.
  22. I don’t call him at work and we don’t share a toothbrush.  Respect boundaries.
  23. Marriage is not ownership.  Consider it a partnership that you have to keep earning.
  24. Show and tell.  There are many ways to express your love (including blog posts); find them and use them.

24th anniversary

The Penny Project

Another 400 word essay!

Today I will purchase a roll of pennies, and for half a dollar I will make 50 people happy.  I will leave pennies on benches, drop them on sidewalks, scatter them like seeds, one at a time.

Do you remember the rhyme?

                     Find a penny

                     Pick it up

                     All day long

                     You’ll have good luck.

I believed that saying when I was a child, and remember the joy I felt when I found a penny lying on the ground.  It promised abundance and I expected good fortune the rest of the day.  Every happy coincidence confirmed that a single penny had brightened my life.

It doesn’t matter if the penny is old and well-worn or shiny copper.  If it looks old, a child will look carefully at the date it was made.  She may marvel at this small coin that passed from pocket to purse, hand to hand, for years before her own birth.  If the coin is newly minted, its brilliance will make the finder want to keep it in a jar to admire later like a firefly trapped on a summer evening.  Even an ordinary dull penny promises the same luck.  And if the newly discovered penny is then thrown into a wishing well or fountain, good fortune is increased as well as being passed on to others.

I remember when a penny had real value.  I was best friends with a twin brother and sister, and after school we would stop at the Ben Franklin before continuing the walk home.  There we could choose from bins of penny candy, some costing 1¢, some costing a nickel, but always less than a dime.  It was difficult to choose between so many types and flavors.  The store was a dime store with wooden floors and merchandise stacked nearly to the ceiling.  The choice  was incredible if you were looking for plastic dolls, paper doilies, artificial flowers or small jars of bubbles.

A few years ago I went back to my neighborhood and drove by the “Five and Dime.”  I had told my daughters about my walks home, the traditional stop, and wanted to let them feel the boards creak under their feet.  It had been replaced by a pet supermarket, the bubbles and doilies now gourmet dog biscuits and squeaky toys.  And nothing cost a penny.

Still, I think that I’ll go to the bank and get a roll.