• Civility and manners,  Communication,  Friendship and relationship advice,  Gratitude

    Thank you notes

    ““Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward “Does anyone still send thank-you notes, or is that an antiquated idea?” a reader asked. It’s a worthy question as we approach the season of gratitude and giving. Etiquette experts agree that a handwritten note of appreciation is “good form” any time you’ve received a gift, a special favor, or enjoyed someone’s hospitality. Likewise, in professional situations, including job interviews, sending a thank you note sets you apart from other clients and competitors. For a modern, updated spin on thank-you notes, check out this article on Emily Post Etiquette online. Yes,…

  • Civility and manners,  Communication,  Featured,  Friendship and relationship advice,  Where I'm published

    A Thanksgiving conversation primer

    “Real conversation can’t happen if listening is just my waiting for you to finish talking.” ~Alan Alda Our social lives took a huge hit during the pandemic. We celebrated birthdays with drive-by parades, limited our holiday gatherings to small family bubbles, and even Zoomed memorial services. Now that our lives are back to near-normal, we look forward to gathering around our holiday tables with friends and family. We’re also rediscovering how to talk to each other after long periods of semi-isolation and social distancing. Not long after the pandemic eased, a friend confided that her social skills suddenly feel a bit “rusty” — especially when she meets new people at larger parties or work functions. No wonder.…

  • Civility and manners,  Communication,  Friendship and relationship advice

    The gift of speaking freely

    “But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely.” ~Dinah Craik, British novelist It’s always wise to think before we speak. We shouldn’t spread harmful gossip; we shouldn’t hurt or insult anyone. And given today’s volatile political climate, most of us wisely avoid discussing hot-button topics if we’re unsure of someone else’s viewpoints. Sometimes it feels like we’re all walking on eggshells, right? So, I was thinking recently about the gift of knowing a few trusted people with whom I can speak freely and…

  • Autumn,  Gratitude,  Holidays

    Your harvest, your life

    “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” ~Oprah Winfrey Late autumn inspires us to take stock of what we’ve planted or accomplished. The season of Thanksgiving — not just the holiday itself — underscores a simple choice we always have: We can celebrate all the good things we’ve reaped and experienced, or dwell on the difficulties we’ve encountered. A positive mindset is the natural outgrowth of appreciation. (Happy people are grateful people.) It’s part of the harvest we reap when we count everything on our gratitude list, large and small. ~CL

  • Adventure and exploration,  approval seeking,  Personal growth

    Inner compass

    “Pay close attention to your inner compass. If you stop steering by your own compass, you’ll hit a rumble strip. Don’t panic. Just question your assumptions and you’ll be back on the road in no time.” ~Martha Beck In the 1950s, most women didn’t have the choices we have today. Typically, they married and had kids, stayed home to raise those kids, managed household chores, and followed the cultural norms of the time. Likewise, their husbands climbed into their cars every weekday morning (or evening) and drove to work to support their families. Breaking that pattern isn’t always easy, even today. We humans are creatures of habit. We follow the…