They said she had “no talent.” And the attractive 15-year-old must have been crushed. Since a young child, she had been star-struck. But growing up poor, she had little opportunity to try out her chosen career. Then, when she was in her early teens, her widowed mother scraped together enough […]

Once again it’s time to decorate for Christmas. And once again our decorations will be very simple. In contrast to my good pool-friend Pat, I like simple. Pat lives in a beautiful 19th-century Victorian house and she decorates it elegantly. Pat works on decorating for days–multiple trees and many ornaments […]

Most of my friends are retired. Yet at the same time, most of my friends are terribly busy. The same is true for me. It seems like an oxymoron! How did I ever work eight hours a day, do my housework, make meals, sit on committees, give speeches, invite friends […]

For as long as I can remember, writing has been one of my passions. And I count myself very fortunate that, with the exception of six short years as a teacher early on, I was able to write throughout my working life—and even get paid for it! There are three […]

We love house guests! And over the years, we have had many. Friends from college, friends from our years in Edmonton, Alberta, friends who sadly have left our current community, and family from New York state, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and eastern and western Canada. But we rarely have two different groups […]

A year-and-a-half ago, our family purchased a wonderful new vehicle, especially for me. As usual, it was not really “new.” Being frugal, my husband does not believe in buying new cars. “The minute you drive a new vehicle off the lot, it loses one-third of its value,” he says. But […]

For the first 16 years of my life, I lived happily in a 100-year-old, eight-bedroom house on Route 12 in northern New York. A house that lived its first century as a tavern, when taverns were inns that served 19th-century travellers. As a child, I never once questioned why we […]

For years, I avoided getting a ’flu shot–not quite trusting the vaccine. But a few years ago, my doctor recommended getting a shot; and it seemed wise to follow his recommendation. After all, I wanted to be protected. But I’ll never know whether the vaccine worked or not because I’ve […]

Life is so short! I remember years ago, when my mother reached her 80th birthday, how incredulous she was. Reflecting on her life, she said, “I can’t believe I’m 80 already. I feel so young.” Then she said, almost sadly, “I don’t know where all the time went. It went […]

Several years ago, I discovered Keith Harrell’s book “Attitude Is Everything: Ten Life-Changing Steps to Turning Attitude into Action.” Since that time, whenever I find myself in a bad mood, Harrell’s 10 steps help me turn it around. •Step 1—Understand the power of attitude. Adjust your attitude and change your […]

He grew up poor–dirt poor! And as a result, he had very little education. Yet he became a successful freelance writer while still in his teens and published his first book at age 24. From personal experience, he understood the pain of poverty and servitude. So he went on to […]

There aren’t many perfect people in the world, if any. We all seem to have our faults. But in my lifetime, I’ve had the privilege to have close connections to a few “near perfect” people. The first one was my father, Nicholas Gingerich. My father wasn’t rich or well-educated, but […]