Spring has sprung

From my front porch to yours: Happy Spring! I love spring for all its promises and its beauty, but I really love that it affords me the opportunity to plan and dream. Perhaps Margaret Atwood said it best: “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” My fingernails are proof of my 78th wheelbarrow load of mulch, the expansion of my vegetable garden, and planting a lot of pansies. On my porch coffee table (an old laundry cart flattened out) are bleeding hearts. Yes, I’m reminded our country is struggling a bit these days, but spring’s beauty promises there are better days ahead. Sending you love from the garden. Don’t look now, but Naked Gardening Day is right around the corner! Stay tuned…

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Winter – Wacky Shacky Working

“In the depth of winter I finally learned in me there is an invincible summer.” So said Albert Camus. Instead of getting the winter doldrums, I spend the winter working on every creative project and idea I can. (My dog Westminster is a very supportive assistant.) I’ve always known that those who work hardest in winter get to play hardest in summer. So, I’m hunkered down squeezing out every ounce of creativity in a day. By the way, you also might have heard that summer bodies are made in winter. You can’t see me right now, but I’m doing my daily 30 pushups. How are you surviving winter?

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Life 101 – Holiday Decorating

My first memory of Christmas is of electric lights–electric being the key word. I was three years old, tinkering with the lights beneath the bottom branches of a scrawny fir in my grandmother’s living room. In rural South Carolina, trees were plucked from wherever they could be found, and my grandmother typically found hers somewhere along the railroad tracks behind her house.
Each year after the hack job, she’d drag the thirsty thing back up to the house, stick it in a wrought iron stand, and put on the lights. They were big and colorful, and searingly hot. My first Christmas memory is those lights, sticking the prongs of the plug into the outlet beneath the tree… along with my forefinger. The memory is still shocking. Stunningly, staggeringly electric. Think Phyllis Diller hair, and tears that burst forth like rain from an angry could.
I’m an adult now, and I still cry. Like pregnancy and painting, the pain of lighting the lights is forgotten once done, but remembered when trying again. This past weekend, I dangled on a ladder and decorated my house, cursing like a sailor. Now that it’s done, I can pour myself a cocktail and enjoy the holidays.
Hey, are your lights twinkling yet?

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Back to School – Keep Dreaming

Barbara predicts my future is full of fun. How about yours?

At the end of summer each year, I’d already have my first day of school outfit planned out. It was always the most exciting and eye-grabbing ensemble I could put together (or dare wear in South Carolina) because I always went back to school with big dreams. From having the best friends to getting the best grades, from winning the speech contest to being cast as the lead in the school play. And it made life fun. Here’s the thing. What keeps us going is having that dream. And then having a new one. And a new one after that. Take my friend Barbara Corcoran (if you’ve not read our latest book: Shark Tales, you should to be inspired.) Barbara built her business, sold her business for mega-millions, reinvented herself, became a TV commentator, then a Shark, and now she’s Dancing With The Stars. At any point, she could have stopped. But she’s living life to the fullest with a big dream. As you head “back to school” this fall, ask yourself, “What’s my big dream?

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Finding some LOVE

We’re being bombarded with bad news, and it’s apparently getting to us. How do we make ourselves feel better?
Find things that make us laugh like these 100 funny pictures.
Seek out stories that show humanity at its best. Did you hear about the people in a NYC subway car who teamed up to wipe away anti-Semitic graffiti and Swastikas? It’s a great story of hand sanitizer, elbow grease and people coming together.
Find ways to share and feel more love. If you’ve never heard the Story Corps of Danny & Annie, WATCH & LISTEN. Your heart will grow three sizes.

“Love is the answer, and you know that for sure; Love is a flower, you’ve got to let it grow.” – John Lennon

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New Year – New Opportunities

Dawn.  New Year's Day.  My terrace.  Tulum, Mexico

Dawn. New Year’s Day. My terrace. Tulum, Mexico

Each year, rather than resolutions, Scott and I write down our “goals” for the year. We read them aloud to each other and seal them in an envelope, which we tuck in our underwear drawer and open the following New Year’s Day. We’ve found the action inspires us and that often we get to most things on our list. (Though I still haven’t taken those Spanish lessons!) As we head into 2017, I wish you all good things. I’m reminded of a quote by the late great Joey Adams: “May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.”
It’s ’17. Go get ’em!

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Aunt Jean Gets Her Tree

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It’s Fall Y’all!

Happy FallI’ve heard it said that fall is like a second spring in which each leaf is a flower. As a child, my grandparents would take me to the Blue Ridge Mountains to catch a peek at nature’s calico quilt. It’s a memory that brings me joy and makes me wistful for childhood innocence. Don’t worry, I’ll find it in hikes with my love, carving pumpkins, planting bulbs, roasting marshmallows by a campfire, and maybe even sneaking in one last outdoor shower or two. Hoping you find the color in this season with those you love.

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Spread Love and Kindness USA

America needs love
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
My #Life101 Advice: You will never regret being kind. Start by trying to make one person’s day better. Just one. See how that makes you feel. It’s really that simple. Really. This madness must stop.
(Photo by the talented Sherry Bowen.)

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Garage Sale – Treasure Hunting!

As I’ve said, “There’s treasure in them thar hills!” Perhaps this summer you’ll join me on the hunt? Did you hear about the family that sold a 1,000-year-old Chinese bowl they bought for a few bucks at a NY garage sale for $2.2 million at Sotheby’s?! They’d been displaying the “Ding” bowl from the Northern Song Dynasty on their mantel with no clue of its value. That’s a reason to go saling (and to be careful dusting!)

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