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Our best tonics

Mary Oliver looks with a poet’s eyes—and she looked with those same eyes even when she was writing essays for her book Upstream. For her, nature contains “our best tonics, if we would take them.” All we have to do is observe the world around us. “How wonderful that the universe is beautiful in so […]

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Blame it on Donald Trump

We try to avoid politics in our blog posts. So, this is all I am going to say. I was not happy when Donald Trump was inaugurated. I was so upset that I started eating chocolate and everything in sight—which was a bad thing to do since I hadn’t lost the five pounds that I […]

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The noblest gift

Too much food, too many things on my to-do list, too many very special activities. This is the most delightful season. But sometimes it seems that there is too much delight all at once. Euripides reminds us: “Moderation, the noblest gift of Heaven.” And, I remind myself that I can pick and choose from the […]

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A Christmas tradition

Christmas is a wonderful holiday, full of meaning. But, it is a busy time. “I get started early,” I told my husband a couple of days ago, “but I always end up behind.” It’s a Christmas tradition. I always feel a bit overwhelmed. How can I focus on the meaning of the season and avoid […]

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It’s December!

Everyone came to our house Saturday night for a birthday party. Then, on Sunday, I helped a friend with her open house. Last night, my husband and I went to the symphony. This afternoon, my friend Olga is coming from Austin, and tonight Olga and I are going to our book club’s annual Christmas party. […]

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“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without,” Buddha said. Today I am not feeling peaceful. I am looking at a list of more than 20 people who are supposed to show up at my house on Saturday for a birthday party for my friend Susie—and I am thinking of everything I need to […]

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An instant vacation

I have retreated to my office on a warm July day in Dallas. I have several errands that I need to do, but I dread braving the scalding summer weather. For a few minutes, I consider how wonderful it would be to spend a day on the beach at Galveston or in the mountains of […]

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Summer escapes

My son was laid off from his job at an energy company recently. My daughter is traveling in Mexico. And, my dog has a slight heart murmur. I worry—even though I know that Jay has severance and savings and he will find a new job—and I know that Mary Elizabeth will be safe with her […]

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Just get started

Timothy Pychyl, a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, calls procrastination a coping mechanism gone awry in which people “give in to feel good.” When you feel tempted to procrastinate, the best thing you can do is to remember that you don’t have to be in the mood to do the task, Pychyl says. What […]

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Simple or complex?

“Everything is simpler than you think, and, at the same time, more complex than you imagine,” Goethe once said. My favorite Goethe quote is: “Whatever you can do or believe you can, begin it.” However, Goethe has a number of other quotes I really like—and some people contend that my favorite Goethe quote didn’t really […]

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