• Photo stories,  relationships,  social skills

    Silly presents

    “A friendship can weather most things, and it can thrive in thin soil. But it needs a little mulch of notes and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often, just to save it from drying out completely.” ~Pamela Brown A few years ago, after a painful surgery on my eyelid for skin cancer, a dear friend brought me a lovely “care package” that touched my heart more than words could express. I’ll never forget the morning she showed up at my door with that gift. That same friend was injured in an accident earlier this week, and as soon as I learned about it, I started shopping for a care package.…

  • Photo stories,  relationships

    Being neighborly

    “All will concede that in order to have good neighbors, we must also be good neighbors. That applies in every field of human endeavor.” ~Harry S. Truman Whenever I need company, I don’t have to look beyond my own neighborhood. Here, it’s easy to find enough friends to host a book club or a potluck, or meet for a last-minute lunch date. And there’s always someone willing to water your garden while you’re away. Over the years, we’ve gathered for graduations, weddings, and funerals. We’ve built a community. “How do you know so many of your neighbors?” someone asked me recently. The short answer: It took a little time and lots…

  • approval seeking,  Garden tour,  Personal growth,  Photo stories

    You be you

    “Forget popularity; focus on sincerity. Do what you do, not for applause, but because it is what is right for you. Practice respecting yourself and becoming a reliable part of your own support system.” ~Angel Chernoff, Marc and Angel Hack Life The word “popularity” immediately sends me back to junior high school. This quote from Marc and Angel Chernoff got me thinking about the interesting difference between sincerity and popularity. When we focus on being “popular,” we might value the number of friends we have rather than the quality of their character. (This is especially true when we use social media.) Popularity involves striving for approval and applause — or conformity — no…

  • Events & news,  Personal growth,  Photo stories

    What did you expect?

    “Never expect anything less than you deserve. But never expect anything more than you are willing to give.” ~Jen Groover, entrepreneur After stumbling on this quote, I spent the rest of the day thinking about expectations and how they impact our lives. First, I considered the times I’ve eaten at trendy five-star restaurants, only to feel duped when my meals fell short of the rave reviews I’d heard or read. At the same time, I also recalled a few neighborhood diners that surprised me with delicious, creative entrees. Then I thought about past projects that flopped and people who’ve disappointed me. I thought about the times I settled for less…

  • Anne Lamott,  Personal growth,  Photo stories

    How will you spend today?

    “Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it, and find out the truth about who you are.” ~Anne Lamott Lately I’ve read some interesting articles about the dubious trade-offs we make when we craft our personal brand on social media. Or when we spend hours scrolling Facebook or Instagram instead of making real plans to socialize in person. Psychologists and researchers are sounding a wake-up call: Social…

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