A Kinder and Gentler Nation

I see history as a book with many pages, and each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning.

Former President George H.W. Bush

I remember when he asked for a kinder and gentler nation, and for all of us to be a thousand points of light by volunteering in our communities. He leaves behind a legacy of service and a reminder for all of us to bring hope to those who may have lost it.

Don’t you miss living in a time when our leaders said things like this? A time when more of us looked to unite, instead of to divide?

I mostly remember the kinder, gentler, points of light thing due to Dana Carvey’s impression of Bush on Saturday Night Live, and through my friend, Woody, who could impersonate Dana Carvey impersonating President Bush PERFECTLY! Which pretty much sums up what I was doing in 1989…I was laughing.

HW was a modest man who never did a victory dance. He was a man just following advice from his mother. A good mother!

A huge crevice exists between this Bush-man and our current government leader. Even if it was only the speech writers who were inspiring, it is still a devastating loss that this call to kindness no longer defines our nation.

There is mourning indeed. I wish I knew how we got so far from unity as a whole.

Let’s try to follow this example of humanity as we traverse our new normal.

Mothers, Gratitude, Regret, and Wishful Thinking

Tomorrow on our cul-de-sac we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving. A 24-pound turkey, Al, will not be thawed by tomorrow. Dinner may be late for our small gathering this year of 15. I am thankful to have a warm, welcoming home for 15 people to sit down together and laugh more than we cry -or drink.

My mother passed away this past Nov. 6th at 7:30 AM. My alarm went off at 7:30 and as I rolled over to hit snooze I noticed I wasn’t coughing up small hamsters from my lungs for the very first time in 3 months. When I stood up from my all too comfy bed I was hit by a weight of depression I hadn’t been experiencing for the last couple of months, so I noticed.

I got a call at 12:10 PM. letting me know my mother had passed away a bit unexpectedly. It was nice of her to take my cough with her. I’m sure it’s just a weird coincidence. But, still, it’s weird.

When my husband, the-very-patient-man, and I decided to have children I vowed to do everything I could to give my children a different childhood than mine. I succeeded and failed.

Now that one is in college and one a recent college graduate living her dream life in California, I have too much time to miss: their magical imaginations, shopping for their food and entertainment and education and positive reinforcements. I miss the few and far-between moments of my own mother’s attempts to do the same for me. My ‘nows’ are often made up of ‘thens’ and the wishful thinking that I could have done better, at everything.  I miss the way our life was, even in the midst of loving the way our life is. more “Mothers, Gratitude, Regret, and Wishful Thinking”

Life, We’re In It Together

Last Saturday night about 9:45 the husband and I returned home from dinner at Bandera in Scottsdale (Go sometime! It’s fantastic) and had just settled down to see if the season premiere of SNL was streaming early. It wasn’t. But just as we cuddled up together and began a search for something that might make us laugh, our doorbell rang two times in rapid succession. Sounded like the way UPS rings the bell, I didn’t think the delivered so late, The Husband graciously went to answer the door. “Who is it?” I bellowed from deep in the couch when I didn’t hear anything at the door. “Nobody. Just a white car flooring it from the curb.” He replied as he handed me a dozen lavender roses. No card. more “Life, We’re In It Together”

10 Ways To Be Kind You Didn’t Think Would Count

You don’t have to do big things in every moment of every day, even simple, small things will change the world.

10 things you can do this week to feel better about yourself and maybe set a good example to someone…your child, your mate, total strangers, squirrels.

1. Put your grocery cart in the corral, even when no one else is around. I do this because I’m trying not to be an asshole. Putting your things away is the nice thing to do. AND! 10 minutes ago, when I started to return my cart on this rainy day (sprinkling lightly, it’s Arizona so we think even humidity counts for rain), a perfect gentleman came over to me and said, “I’ll take that” and he took it! He returned it to it’s little corral where it snuggled up next to its fellow carts. I am not a feeble looking woman. I assume he was walking by and thought, “I’m going that way anyway.” It surprised me, in a good way. Note, to self, I will do this someday too.

more “10 Ways To Be Kind You Didn’t Think Would Count”

Tell Me Something Good

This poster hangs outside of one of my classrooms. It inspires me daily.

What can you tell me about your good stuff?

This blog is a place for good. But, good often comes out of struggles, pain, evil, lack, and on and on. Disaster gives us a chance to rise up and be better human beings and doings to make a difference.

So many heroes rose from the ashes of the terror attacks on September 11. In every hurricane, tornado, storm surge and firestorm comes hundreds of volunteers giving their energy and sharing their resources selflessly. In my hometown of Santa Rosa, California, I’ve witnessed kindness in the form of millions of dollars of donations, back-breaking labor, and open arms bringing in newly homeless victims while this town tries to recover from last October’s devastating firestorm that leveled most of its buildings and homes. more “Tell Me Something Good”

How to be Beautiful, Part 1

Beauty Tip #1:

Lovely, right?

Our beauty, or lack of, is always, merely the reflection of where we are directing our gaze. 

For example:

Beaming with pride for someone else.  I am photographed often in this particular state. I’m a wife, mother, teacher, general “lover of all things sweet and beautiful and good” and I look better when I observe anyone doing even remotely well, and  smiling with every cell. It is a selfless moment, it is a reflection of where I am directing my attention. Beaming with pride looks like this on me and my very patient man: 

In Haiti when we learned how to take a selfie!

more “How to be Beautiful, Part 1”

This is My Chandler

Our Chandler mascot, at The Ostrich Festival!

“I am sick of having to look over my shoulder all the time. I want to live in a safer, gentler, happier world. What creature wouldn’t?” James Bowen from one of his fabulous books about his cat, Bob, and his recovery from heroin addiction.

My husband just informed me we have lived in Chandler, AZ for 20 years. This was shocking news to me. That’s just not what I thought. I thought we moved here ‘a couple years ago.’ But, um, no. I must learn the freeway system now.

We’ve lived here long enough to have an opinion. It’s been the right place to raise children and live a good life. But, I’m kind of a big city girl, I’ve lived in Manhattan, L.A., Brussels, Belgium, Japan, and have been fortunate enough to travel the world. But, I’ve lived in this suburb in Chandler longer than I could have ever imagined. And moving here was a good decision. more “This is My Chandler”

Funny Can Equal Kindness

This Giraffe is looking for a little action. Why a giraffe? They are unlikely and, in my opinion, hilarious. That’s it.

Kindness tip of the week:  

look for the funny in everything and life is easier to handle.

For example!

The-Very-Patient-Husband accompanied me to a doctor’s appointment on Friday. It was a serious appointment, we were both a little nervous and became even more so when the nurse greeted us. She seemed a bit peeved about…perhaps, the idiocy of our world, the people in it, and most likely her job specifically (I’m just guessing). Maybe she hadn’t had any coffee yet, I know that would do it for me. more “Funny Can Equal Kindness”

Rough Week?

My act of kindness this week was not killing anyone.

Oye!

The difference between me and people who actually do kill people is I never actually think about snuffing out a life. This week I just wanted to defend myself, in an angry tone, with a strongly worded text, and I didn’t. I listened and realized the attack wasn’t about me, it was about them, and in that moment of clarity, I calmed down. more “Rough Week?”