• Civility and manners,  Kindness quotes,  Photo stories,  Politics

    The hard part

    “A part of kindness consists in loving some people more than they deserve.” —Joseph Joubert It’s so easy to be kind to like-minded friends and others who are nice to us. Yet the true test of our character is how we treat the folks who aren’t members of our fan club — especially those who hurt us or disagree with our views. Along those lines, today’s photo shows my new lawn sign. I think the message is a breath of fresh air in today’s vicious political climate. Regardless of what’s on the ballot or who’s running for office, the sign reminds us that kindness is a bipartisan choice we can…

  • Communication,  Family columnists,  Health & wellbeing,  Newspaper columnists

    Let’s talk …

    “Lack of communication leaves fear and doubt.” ~Kellan Lutz Lately I’ve been thinking about communication — and what makes good communication. You’ll be seeing a lot of quotes along these lines over the next few weeks. I tend to be an over-communicator, and I’ve had lots of practice. After college, I had publishing jobs that involved regular meetings and follow-up phone calls. Later, as a newspaper columnist, my career was all about talking to people in print. (Early in my marriage, one of my in-laws told me I “talk too much.”) But after years of living among both chatterboxes and quiet people, I’m much more comfortable with the chatterboxes. While…

  • 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,  Politics,  Reputation

    What is integrity?

    “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” ~C.S. Lewis There’s so much turmoil and corruption in the world, which partly explains why I’ve been obsessed with the word integrity. What does it really mean — and does anyone really care anymore? Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines it: 1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility. 2 : an unimpaired condition : soundness. 3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness. Integrity isn’t always easy or comfortable. Every day, I search for examples of it in politics, in my community, and among my friends and family. People…

  • 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…

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