• Holidays,  Photo stories

    Memorial Day weekend

    “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt There’s an important difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. We might lose sight of Memorial Day’s sobering origins while we grill hamburgers at family picnics, plant our gardens, or shop the holiday sales. Originally known as Decoration Day, the holiday was proclaimed after the Civil War to honor the Union and Confederate dead. It later became a weekend of remembrance for everyone who died serving in the American armed forces. So, no matter what you’re doing with your long weekend, take a moment to remember the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the freedom…

  • Domestic arts,  Gardening,  Optimism

    Little sparks of daily joy

    “Joy has been leaking out of our lives. The small pleasures of the ordinary day seem almost contemptible, and glance off us lightly.…So, perhaps it’s a good time to reconsider pleasure at its roots. Changing out of wet shoes and socks, for instance. Bath robes. Yawning and stretching. Real tomatoes.” ~ Barbara Holland, Endangered Pleasures There’s rarely good news in the world lately. We can count on a depressing cycle of war casualties, airline calamities, weather devastation, and vulgar political turmoil. Which is why I always look forward to David Muir’s “America Strong” segment on ABC’s “World News Tonight.” Concluding the nightly news broadcast, “America Strong” highlights uplifting stories of…

  • Aging well,  Friendship and relationship advice

    No regrets

    “Life is a lot more fragile than we think. So you should treat others in a way that leaves no regrets. Fairly, and if possible, sincerely.” ~Haruki Murakami  At dinner last night, a neighbor texted to tell me that the husband of a former neighbor had died suddenly. The man was only in his sixties, and his death was one of several losses in our neighborhood over the past year. We’re reminded, at times like these, to treat each other with care, sensitivity, and respect. And no matter how old we are, we can start by setting aside our pride (or grievances) and telling our loved ones how much they…

  • approval seeking,  Health & wellbeing,  Personal growth

    Asserting vs bullying

    “The practice of assertiveness: being authentic in our dealings with others; treating people with respect in social contexts; refusing to fake the reality of who we are or what we esteem in order to avoid disapproval; the willingness to stand up for ourselves and our ideas in appropriate ways, in appropriate contexts.” ~ Nathaniel Branden, psychologist While most of us understand the concept, “assertiveness” isn’t always easy to practice. For some of us, being assertive can feel uncomfortable — even when it means standing up for ourselves or asking for what we deserve. On the other hand, sometimes we allow others to bully us or take advantage of our generosity.…

  • Inspirational quotes,  Optimism,  Personal growth

    Looking for happiness?

    “Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention.” ~Greg Anderson As today’s quote reminds us, the real secret to happiness is linked to what we choose to dwell on. Most of us have a lot to be grateful for, and most of our worries are within our control. So, when we look around — even in trying times — we’ll still find an abundance of good things to celebrate. What bright spots of happiness will you focus on today? ~CL Above photo: outside a clothing boutique in Saugatuck, MI