Newsletter

We are grateful for your interest and contribution to continuing the conversation with Kendra Brown, Ph.D and The Pages, author and collaborators on the book:

Eavesdropping: As Real Women Talk About the Gifts and Challenges of Aging

 

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Newsletters

 

September 2017

Reflections – Post Irma

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
I love the feeling of this scripture.  It’s comforting.  Seasons and activities happen in sequence – logically and orderly, just as they should.  Negatives followed by positives in perfect balance.

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August 2017

Treasures in Boxes

When someone we love dies, it’s often difficult, confusing and even painful to be left with the task of sorting through the memorabilia left behind – items held precious for decades – stored in boxes and baskets and trunks:  from theater tickets to dried flowers to photos of persons whose identities are lost in time. Sadly, as the memorabilia is discarded, the relevance is also lost.  Why was this kept?  What did it mean to my loved one?  How did it impact his/her life?  I recently observed this and resolved to (finally) get all my “treasures” down from the attic, sort through them and keep only what was “essential.”

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July 2017

Summer Reading
Not Just Books for the Beach

Last month we asked, “What‘s on your summer reading list?”  We want to tell you about some of our recommendations.  But, before we pass along some good reads, we want to tell you about some exciting book news that is very special to us!

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June 2017

Ain’t it awful?  

Ever hear yourself muttering these words – or similar ones – when something you planned has gone awry?  Most of us are guilty of a little “awfulizing” from time to time.  As we go through the day, it’s only natural to evaluate our experiences and to anticipate the outcomes of our behaviors (and the behaviors of important others).

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May 2017

Image- Revisiting What Makes a Woman?

I’m on my “soapbox” again and I’m not even going to apologize.  In the June, 2015 newsletter  “What Makes a Woman? I protested about women being reduced (again) to sex objects.  I asked readers to NOTICE the next time you are in line at the grocery store.  Look at the covers of popular magazines.

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April 2017

Time For Spring Remodeling – Consider The Lizard

Last month, I briefly mentioned “remodeling” in the list of “re’s”.  This remodeling is not about changing the décor of our homes –rather, it’s about remodeling our SELVES – perhaps even our basic IDENTITIES. While this may be a scary thing to consider, research and clinical experience have demonstrated that an essential key to aging effectively is shedding the old to make way for the new – just as lizards shed last year’s coats to show off their spring finery.

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March 2017

Potpourris – or Potpour  re..re..re..re..re

According to the dictionary, potpourris is a mixture of various flowers, leaves and spices used to make a room smell pleasant.  This month, I’m writing about a mixture of various concepts, mottos, little stories I hope are appealing and will add enjoyment to your other senses..

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February 2017

 Younger Next Year

“Valentine’s Day 2017 has just passed.  I hope yours was a happy one.  Thanks to smart merchandising and the power of advertisements, it would be pretty hard to ignore the displays of cards, flowers and candy – handy to purchase just in time to remind that special someone of fidelity and love.

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January 2017

 Younger Next Year

“Younger Next Year” authored by Chris Crowley and Henry S.Lodge,M.D. was published in the AARP  magazine (October/November 2016 issue).

The authors ask “What’s the rest of my third act going to be like?”  “Is this gonna be any fun or just boredom laced with terror?”  And they tell us:  “…it’s up to you.  How long you live is 80% genes and 20% you.  But how well you live is 80% up to you and 20% genes.”  You’re correct if this sounds like my earlier newsletter about choices (see August and October newsletters about becoming potted plants).

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December 2016

 Making a Happiness Casserole

This time of year, I indulge myself- preparing and sharing recipes with family and friends.  I enjoy preparing the old favorites and trying out some interesting new holiday recipes.  I love to cook- anticipating yummy new treats.

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November 2016

Another Option: Stretch or Shrink?

Aging well often seems to me to be making good – yet sometimes difficult – choices between options.  It’s like Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road – take it!”  (But which fork, Yogi?  It really makes a difference.) I’ve written recently about choosing health-enhancing options vs deciding to settle down and become a “potted plant.”  Thanks to the readers who quickly responded to those newsletters!

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October 2016

More About Potted Plants…

In our August newsletter, I reminded readers of an important choice we all have as we age:  we can either (a) exercise and follow good health practices or (b) accept that in the future we may resemble potted plants!  The image I suggested was of a plant that would be fed, watered and moved from place to place by caregivers.

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September 2016

A Glass Half Full

Recently, I heard an interview on NPR featuring Alana Nichols, a 6-time medalist at the Paralympics.  Alana’s story is one of persistence; and although none of us are competing for gold medals, I think her story is inspiration and applicable for all of us whose goal is to age effectively.

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August 2016

A Potted Plant… 

Recently, I heard a very funny woman on NPR describing choices we must make as we age.  She was emphasizing one very important choice: either (a) exercising and following good health regimens or (b) accepting that in the future we may resemble a potted plant – as in, “Move Mom over here by the window, so she can see outside!”  I think this image is a powerful one.

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July 2016

Books, Books, Books… 

Thanks so much for your generous and prompt responses to our June newsletter and your book recommendations.

It just happens that my 16 year-old English granddaughter, Eleanor is visiting me and I asked that she write the introduction to this month’s discussion.  It follows:

For this month’s newsletter I was asked to consider why reading can be so important, and to discuss why I read.  As someone who has always loved to read, it surprised me when I was unable to come up with an immediate answer to the question of why I love books.

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June 2016

Summer Reading

“June is busting out all over“  For me, memories of that old song bring recollections of many pleasant sensations:  the warmth of a blanket on the beach,  sounds of waves breaking on shore, the smell of suntan lotion (or baby oil – OUCH, remember that?) and the luxury of uninterrupted hours spent reading –  losing any sense of time, carried away by scenes my brain orchestrated in response to the words on the pages.

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May 2016

So What? Rather than So That

I was talking recently with a favorite client who acknowledged that one aspect of aging she finds freeing and exciting (at 89) is that her attitude now is “So what?” rather than “so that.”  We both acknowledged that many of our younger years were necessarily goal directed – living in the “so that” mode:  “I’ll take this job so that I can buy the second car we need.”  “I’ll get this degree so that I will measure up to my friends’ accomplishments.”  Etc.

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April 2016

You cannot say “Yes” if you cannot also say “No”

AKA “You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them….”

Frequently, I encourage clients to engage in new and varying activities that may enhance joy in their lives.  Unfortunately, while there are ample opportunities in our community to link with others, to engage in meaningful dialogues, to learn new skills, etc., some people are afraid to try them.  I frequently hear “I’m afraid to volunteer there.  What if I don’t like it?  Then, I’m stuck!”

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March 2016

Forks in the Road

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”  Yogi Berra

This was the theme of my short talk March 16 at the Stuart Woman’s Club.  They’d asked me to speak about Eavesdropping and how it came to be written.  My presentation was limited to 15 minutes.  Now, that is difficult.  As a Southerner, I relish embroidering communications with many descriptors and references back and forth.  That is what we do in the South.

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February 2016

“Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

William Jennings Bryan

As I was driving home, I heard this quote on the radio.  I immediately found it exhilarating and inspiring.  I knew at once that I wanted to write about it this month in the newsletter. Why, you might be asking?  Because I think the concept is vitally important to aging!

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January 2016

About Sacred Spaces and the Relationship Between Schedules and Freedom

One of my New Year’s goals is to incorporate what I’m calling “sacred spaces” into my everyday life.  Even as I was writing it down, I realized this will be difficult for me.  It’s like another of my perennial goals:  practice piano more regularly.”  I want to do it and I mean to do it.  But, all too frequently, I don’t get around to it.

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Holiday 2015

The Sacred Season

Did you know that from November 15 to January, there are about 29 holidays observed by seven of the world’s major religions?

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December 2015

A Tale of Two Cities

Often, when intelligent well-informed people discuss current events with me, they shake their heads in frustration, as they tell me how hopeless they feel. In 1859, Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities The tale begins with the years leading up to the French Revolution and culminates in the Jacobin Reign of Terror.  Dickens opens his novel with these often quoted lines:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

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November 2015

A Focus on Blessings

Our attention these days, regretfully, is most often on the fearful and confusing images we see on television and the internet.  It’s nice to have one day set aside to focus on blessings and giving thanks for them.

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October 2015

Reflections on Namaste: Steps to Peaceful Encounters

This newsletter follows a theme we started in September, so – if you haven’t already read the September newsletter – you might want to read it first. I suppose part of my motivation for writing it was a sense of hopelessness I feel at times, and that my clients talk about.

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September 2015

Namaste: Toward a Culture of Encounter

As I’m writing this, it is September 16 – just five days after many of us shared sad remembrances of the frightening and tragic events of “9/11. Recently, at Sunday Mass, the priest led the congregation through a discussion – instead of a homily (or sermon). The subject discussed was “racism.”  I believe these discussions were held in all Episcopal churches in the country.  In all my years as an Episcopalian, I’ve never attended a mass without a homily, so I was surprised.

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August 2015

More Joy

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints; possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!” 

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July 2015

July Bits & Pieces…

And now it is “TIME FOR SPRING CLEANING!”    Whoa! You might be saying!  It’s past Spring.  Yes, it is.  And so am I! And so was the wise woman I was listening to, as she talked about how quickly the years went by; about relationships that had nurtured her and about those she regretted.   She talked about sadness associated with some “if only” thoughts and memories.   Click here to read full newsletter.

June 2015

What Makes A Women

Elinor Burkett (journalist, professor, and Oscar-winning filmmaker) wrote a compelling opinion piece in the Sunday Review of the New York Times (June 7, 2015).  Burkett responded to recent stereotypical characterizations of womanhood.  She wrote, “I have fought for many of my 68 years against efforts to put women – our brains, our hearts, our bodies, even our moods – into tidy boxes, to reduce us to hoary stereotypes.”  Click here to read full newsletter.

May 2015

Health Span- Not Just Life Span

One of those discussions I never had with my mama had to do with health issues as we get older – and not just our own – but those of friends and family too.  In my private practice, I often see people whose depression is linked to an unpleasant “ride” on what I call “the medical merry-go-round” as they go from appointments with physicians –  to laboratories where they are poked and scanned –  to other physicians -to pharmacists, and sometimes back around again.  Click here to read full newsletter.

April 2015

To Joy!

Last week, I conducted a workshop on “Enhancing Joy.”  I asked participants if they knew anyone they would describe as “joyful.”  I’m sad to say I wasn’t surprised at the response!  They were all looking at each other  – only to see shoulders shrugging – as if to say, ”Nope, not me either.” Click here to read full newsletter.

March 2015

A Tale of Two Villages

One of the chapters in Eavesdropping is “Creating a Village.”  The “Village”, imaged by the Pages, was an inter-dependent support network which they encouraged all of us to create for ourselves.  Such a “village” would, hopefully, supply nurturing and help if needed.  But, ideally, it should be much more than that. Click here to read full newsletter.

February 2015

Turn, Turn, Turn…

“…a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.”

 

Frequently, I write and talk about the importance of re-creating ourselves and about ways to add activities that enrich and enliven.  Recently, however, I realized that I needed to step away from my busy-ness – even from those activities that I routinely enjoy and endorse.  I recalled the wisdom from the 3rd century, BCE, contained in the book of Ecclesiastes. Click here to read full newsletter.

 

January 2015

New Years- A Time for Reinventing

Hopefully, as one ages and becomes a “mature person” she (or he) realizes that plans, goals and even resolutions must change as we change and/or our situations change.  A New Year’s resolution to play tennis at a better level is certainly something attainable; but a goal to play at a high national level is probably not going to meet with success.

January might be just the right month to take an objective assessment.  Click here to read full newsletter.

 

 

December 2014

A Tribute to Two Villages

The first:  Glenwood, New Mexico – founded in 1878.  As of the 2010 census, Glenwood’s population was 143 people.  It’s located in Catron County in southern New Mexico about 4 hours drive from Albuquerque.

You may recall from the chapter “Creating a Village” in Eavesdropping, that the Pages heartily encouraged each of us to construct a “village” of support for ourselves.  In that chapter, the narrator thought of these villages in terms of those tiny quaint ones beneath Christmas trees – along with train sets.  While Glenwood is tiny, it doesn’t physically resemble those villages.  It does, however, embody the goals the Pages endorsed. Click here to read full newsletter.

November 2014

A Recipe for Your Wonderful Holiday Pie: 

Otherwise known as:  How to cope with the Holidays

For most of us, the reality of our holidays does not match (or even come close to) the Normal Rockwell pictures or the portrayals on T.V.  Maybe at one time our holidays were like those – but now, sadly,  important people are missing or things have just changed –  and not for the best. Click here to read full newsletter.

October 2014

Gratitude for Unbidden Angels

It’s so lovely to receive a gift – especially, I think, when it is unexpected and you know the person really extended himself/herself to give the gift.   Recently, a local therapist – who works long hours – offered to host an event for me at her home.  I was quite surprised at her generosity – and grateful.  Afterwards, I found a thank you gift that seemed just right and took it to her, along with a card.  Click here to read full newsletter.

 

September 2014

The Power of Words – Especially Labels!

We really mean it!  We appreciate feedback and comments from our readers.  Here’s the delightful e-mail we received from Suzanne Briley, who lives in Hobe Sound, Florida, and obviously, has a good sense of humor.  As background, you’ll recall that – in our August newsletter – we wrote about labels applied to older people.  Suzanne says our August newsletter really got her thinking and she shared these thoughts with us.  Click here for the full newsletter.

 

August 2014

“A Touch of Gray”

Last month, I encouraged our readers to think in new ways about retirement. I warned that the old model of retiring may result in some unintended negative consequences:  the possibilities of simply fading away, losing identity and becoming invisible to the communities in which you live. I fear that older adults are not adequately, or accurately, appreciated by our modern society, partially because they are “out of sight” thus “out of mind.”  It’s a saying that has endured because of its veracity.  For those of you who think I may be somewhat paranoid in my fears, read on. Click here for full newsletter.

 

July 2014

Retirement: An overdose may be harmful to your health!

I was irritated when I heard a radio commentator speak of retirement (and aging) as a time of fading away, losing identity, and even, becoming invisible!  Yet, to be honest, I see many people in my community who might fairly (if harshly) be described by these terms. Click here to read the full newsletter.

June 2014

Building a Village- Global Grannie’s Style

In our book, Eavesdropping, the Pages strongly urged readers to create their own “villages” – support systems strong enough to endure the challenges of aging.  In the May newsletter, I introduced you to the Global Grannies.  This group has taken the concept of creating a village to a global level!  I learned about these remarkable women and the organization they started when they were interviewed on National Public Radio.   Click here to read the full newsletter.

 

May 2014

Get Ready for the 7th Inning STRETCH

“In baseball in the United States and Canada, the seventh-inning stretch is a tradition that takes place between the halves of the seventh inning of a game – in the middle of the seventh inning. Fans generally stand up and stretch out their arms and legs and sometimes walk around.”  From Wikepedia.  Click here to read the full newsletter.

April 2014

Extending and Enhancing Meditation

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”  Guillaume Apollinaire

Easy for some to say, you might be thinking, but the gifts of joy and happiness are available to most of us, regardless of everyday irritations, conflicts and frustrations.

In an earlier newsletter, I wrote about the power of positive thinking and the current wealth of research in this area.  The bookshelves of libraries and bookstores now contain many self-help books with various techniques and strategies to facilitate this kind of thinking.  Much of the work falls under the category of “cognitive behavioral” studies and therapy. Click here to read the full newsletter.

March 2014

March Meditations –Techniques for the Pursuit of Happiness

In March, I recommended meditation as a wonderful resource:  no side effects, no prescription necessary and no cost, other than a few minutes every day.  I hope you have tried – and profited from – the exercise I suggested.  In the newsletter, I cited books by the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, as an additional resource. Click here to read the full newsletter.

February 2014

Get Ready for Valentine’s Day!

What in the world is Kendra talking about?  Doesn’t she know Valentines Day has come and gone?  Yes, I do know, and I hope yours was a happy one.  So, guess what – it’s time to work on next year’s Valentines Day!  I’m not suggesting that you start shopping early for cards and gifts!  Instead, that you start – right now – enhancing your relationship with special people in your life.  Remember those days in elementary school, when you sent Valentines to your favorite friends and even your teacher?  I’m talking about those kinds of special people who are in your life right now.  Click here to read the full newsletter.

  

January 2014

“Stop, Look & Listen”

Thoughts for the New Year

Our January newsletter focuses on building support groups, just in case one of your New Year’s resolutions was to enhance your support network – something which I believe we all need to do from time to time.  Click here to read the full newsletter.

 

December  2013 Newsletter

IT’S NOT ALL SNOW AND MISTLETOE!  Thoughts for the holidays 

During our meetings, the actual Pages had quite a lively discussion about the difficulties inherent in holidays.  I “recruited” the fictional Ellen (on page 58 of Eavesdropping) to earnestly jump right into the subject.

 ‘”I’ve come to hate holidays, really,” Ellen was saying.  “I used to love them – decorating the house, preparing special foods, everyone together.  Now my favorite holiday is Columbus Day.  No one expects anything special on Columbus Day.”’  

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November 2013 Newsletter

We Gather Together with Gratitude 

Recently, the Episcopal priest at my church spoke about “gratitude” and how being grateful affects one’s overall sense of happiness.   He cited research from two psychologists exploring the relationship between gratitude and a sense of well-being in daily life. What a timely topic – just in time for Thanksgiving!  Click here to read the full newsletter.

October 2013 Newsletter

Time Travelers All – Some thoughts on the journey 

“There’s just no getting around it,” as my mother used to say.  Transitions are part of life, and with these changes, we take on new “identities”. Of course, we still retain some aspects of who we were in the past. In fact, it’s not unusual for our internal pictures of ourselves to remain frozen in time. But to the outside world, whether we like it or not, we have changed.  The male grocery clerk no longer identifies us as someone to flirt with.  Instead, he asks gently if he can help us take the groceries to our cars! Click here to read the full newsletter.

 

September 2013 Newsletter

Remaining Relevant 

When the Pages met, they agreed that remaining relevant and solvent were fundamental aspects of aging well.  Their lively discussion on this topic is covered in Eavesdropping’s chapter titled “When You Have All the Time in the World – What Do You Have Time For?”

“All the time in the world” could sound like heaven to the mother of young children, especially if she is balancing a career with family responsibilities.  “All the time in the world” might also sound good to a woman busily pursuing career goals.  But, in Florida, where I live, I see many women who have come here with (or without) spouses to enjoy the Golden Years, play golf and enjoy the sunshine – only to find too much time on their hands. Click here to read the full newsletter.

 

August 2013 Newsletter

August Memories 

If I were making a calendar of the seasons of my life, the images of August would be from Tennessee.  Its colors would be muted:  browning grass and leaves; dry stalks of plants that crackle in response to the wind; the lush full flowers of Summer gone, replaced by small Daisy-like flowers, fewer in number and smaller so that I always thought of them as brave survivors – determined to bloom in spite of the hot sun and little rain. Click here to read the full newsletter.

July 2013 Newsletter

Preparing for the Storm 

At this time each year, we Floridians are reminded to prepare for the Hurricane Season.  It technically begins June 1, but, of course, we don’t just wait until then to prepare.  For example, when my husband and I built our new home, we made sure the windows are storm-worthy; shutters handy and easily applied.  We stock up on canned food, candles and bottled water.  We can’t stop the powerful storms, but we can maximize our own power to sustain them.  We can minimize the losses and limitations if we are wise in our preparations. Click here to read the full newsletter.

 

June 2013 Newsletter

Let Freedom Ring! It’s Almost the 4th of July 

We Americans, no matter our party affiliation, are generally united when it comes to valuing our hard-won national freedom.  All across the country, we’ll have celebrations, fireworks, and picnics.  We’ll display our patriotic colors, listen to Souza marches, and observe family traditions (I always insist on baking a blackberry cobbler!).  All through school, beginning in elementary years, we learned about our early pioneers – how they dared oceans, plains, and mountains to escape the confining influences and demands of others.  They are our heroes: independent tough-minded folk who dared to seek, and even fight for, their own answers.  Click here to read the full newsletter.

May 2013 Newsletter

Memorial Day Reflections 

On the last Monday of May, we will celebrate another Memorial Day.  The purpose of Memorial Day has changed over the years.  Beginning after the Civil War, when it was a time to remember both Union and Confederate soldiers, it was later extended to commemorate Americans who have died in all wars.  Most recently, it has become an occasion to remember deceased family and friends, in general – whether or not they served in the military.  Click here to read the full newsletter.

April 2013 Newsletter

Unexpected New Adventures

It seems the pathways to productive and happy living often take unexpected, and even circular turns.  This month, we have several articles that prove the point.  Dianne Spina, one of the Pages, tells us about her experience when she took on the role of parenting (for a brief time) her grandson – not something she had foreseen on her planned path to art and social engagement!  Terry Gray, our website manager and newsletter editor, has some observations about how younger women can use the wisdom of The Pages to re-invent themselves in ways they hadn’t expected.  Edie Donohue, another Page, endorses a movie about musicians making a comeback.

It will not come as a surprise to you, our readers, that life has a “habit” of surprising us just as we think we have it all arranged.  It seems to me that sometimes these unexpected turns in the path may open us up to new adventures, new points of view, and even new routes to happiness and fulfillment.  I hope this will be true for you. (Click here to read the full newsletter.)

March 2013 Newsletter

Another Kernel, thanks to Peggy Post

Last month, we shared with you the image of “kernels” – elements, strategies, recipes that may be helpful to us as we reinvent ourselves – as we encounter and deal with life’s surprises and obstacles.

In January, I was asked by a local women’s club to speak about our book, Eavesdropping. As I enjoyed lunch with the group, I learned that one of their members was planning a hike that sounded really interesting.  The woman to my left whispered in my ear that Peggy Post, the hike leader, would be someone I’d like to meet – a woman who had reinvented her life in a remarkable way. (Click here to read the full newsletter.)

February 2013 Newsletter

Continuing the conversation…

We appreciate and have been enjoying the feedback we’re getting from readers of our book, Eavesdropping, and of the January Newsletter. Thanks to all of you who are continuing the conversations the Pages started in their meetings and for bringing up new topics for discussion. As is evident in the book, we cherish the notion that there are many ways to look at most situations and many ways to answer the same question. Having a group of candid supporters gives us the ability to reach more informed resolutions with greater confidence and clarity. (Click here to read the full newsletter.)

 

January 2013 Newsletter

Reflections on the Journey

About seven years ago, I started a kind of journey- a quest for knowledge about aging with power and zest. The happy result of my quest was the publication of the book, Eavesdropping: As Real Women Talk About the Gifts and Challenges of Aging. I was fortunate to have great company: the five women who joined in my exploration and named themselves “The Pages” because their stories and conversations became the actual pages of the book. (Click here to read the full newsletter.)