homemade christmas

Last week, my friend Peter shared his sister’s blog post about Christmases when they were growing up. In the post, his sister mentioned that his parents had made a lot of their Christmas gifts, and it reminded me of my favorite Christmas gift ever, which, to this day, has never been topped.

I’m not sure exactly how old I was, but I was young enough to be playing with Barbie dolls. That Christmas, I had asked Santa for some new dolls, “Tammy and her family”—which included Tammy, her mom and dad, and a brother and sister.

Anyway, my parents (AKA “Santa”) decided to make a dollhouse for me to go along with my new Tammy dolls. They went out and got cardboard boxes, cut off the lids, turned them on their sides and attached them to each other so that they formed a house with four rooms—two up and two down. Mom got wallpaper samples and covered the “walls” of the rooms, and she made sofas and beds out of shoeboxes, even sewing bedspreads and pillows for them. They used my Barbie dolls to measure stuff for the house, which is where the problem came in. Continue reading

how do you define love?

Thoughts on Theatre does it again! :)

Thoughts on Theatre

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”


In spirit of Valentine’s day, time to let kids tell it like it is. So honest, so profound. A group of 4 to 8 year-olds were asked the question, “What does love mean?” Below are their answers.

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca- age 8

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy – age 4

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl – age 5

“Love is…

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miracles ~walt whitman

Why! who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love–or sleep in the bed at night with
any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with my mother,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds–or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sun-down–or of stars shining so quiet
and bright,
Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring;
Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best–
mechanics, boatmen, farmers,
Or among the savans–or to the soiree–or to the opera,
Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery,
Or behold children at their sports,
Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old
Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial,
Or my own eyes and figure in the glass;
These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring–yet each distinct, and in its place.

To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass–the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women,
and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.

To me the sea is a continual miracle;
The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships,
with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

~Walt Whitman

quote du jour ~casals – each second…

Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michaelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.

~Pablo Casals

the power of kindness

We are the leaves of one branch, the drops of one sea, the flowers of one garden.
~Jean-Baptiste Henri Lacordaire

I know I’m not alone in my deep sadness over the deaths of the 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut. We are all connected, and when even one of us is taken, we all feel the loss. Since the shooting last Friday, I think we’ve all felt defeated in our attempts to make sense of such an unimaginable tragedy, and I think we’ve all wished that we could fix it somehow…that we could do something, anything, to somehow make it okay, or at least better.

In the past few days, I’ve posted a couple of blog posts by kindness girl, aka Patience Salgado (who lives just a couple of miles from me here in Richmond but whom I’ve never met), because I can always count on her to find a way to articulate difficult feelings and to turn sadness and despair into fuel for acts of kindness. I’ve also posted a link to an article about the dogs that were brought to Newtown to help comfort these people who are in the midst of an unbelievable nightmare. I’ve posted these things because I haven’t really known what else to do, and I thought I’d post a couple more in case, like me, you’re feeling the need to do something.

Many people have wanted to send cards and gifts to Sandy Hook Elementary School. If you do, please send to: The Town of Newtown, 3 Primrose Street, Newtown, CT 06470. I learned tonight that the children will not be returning to Sandy Hook but will instead be having school in the next town over for the remainder of the year.

I also read tonight about a movement that was started by NBC news correspondent Ann Curry challenging her Twitter followers to commit to 26 acts of kindness in honor of the 26 victims of the shootings. The idea has already gone viral, with people answering the call in a multitude of ways both large and small. For me, this is not only an opportunity to honor the victims, it’s also a way of helping to increase the light in the world. Every act of kindness shines a light, and against so many lights, the darkness cannot stand.

If this is something that resonates with you, think about how you can commit 26 acts of kindness. Buy a coffee for someone. Pay the toll for the car behind you. Donate to Toys for Tots. Do what feels right for you. Know that whatever you do, it will mean something and it will make a difference.

Wherever there is a human being, there is a chance for a kindness.

remember your song

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There is a tribe in Africa where the birth of a child is not counted from when they’ve been born, nor from when they are conceived,  but from the day that the child was a thought in the mother’s mind.

And when a woman decides she will have a child, she goes off and sits under a tree by herself, and she listens until she can hear the song of the child that wants to come. And after she’s heard the song, she comes back to the man who will be the child’s father, and teaches it to him. And then, when they make love and physically conceive the child, some of that time they sing the song of the child, as a way to invite it.

And then when the mother is pregnant, she teaches that child’s song to the midwives and the old women of the village, so that when the child is born, the women and the people around her sing the child’s song to welcome it. Continue reading

believing ~mark nepo

Believing is all a child does for a living.

~Kurtis Lamkin

Picasso once said that artists are those of us who still see with the eyes of children. Somehow, as we journey into the world, more and more gets in the way, and we stop questioning things in order to move deeper into them and start questioning as a way to challenge things that we fear are false. Continue reading

a child’s sense of wonder ~carson

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in. Parents often have a sense of inadequacy when confronted on the one hand with the eager, sensitive mind of a child and on the other with a world of complex physical nature, Continue reading