Early Spring 2008

Dear Friends

Last weekend, I had the great joy of taking my grandson, Tristin, on his first trip to a pumpkin patch -- a 100-acre ranch complete with hay rides, face painting, and petting corral -- the photo op of every grandma's dreams. Tristin is so accustomed to his ''paparazzi'' family that he was posing on a giant pumpkin before my camera was even out of its case. With this winning picture taking place in front of me, my heart sank as I discovered my camera was broken. Normally, this would have put a damper on our day, but this day was different. Less than a week prior, raging wildfires had forced both my daughter and me to evacuate our homes. Not only was my home in the line of fire, but so was the Chinaberry building. As I drove westward at 3:00 a.m. after our evacuation, I felt as though I was tearing myself away from my history (i.e., all my sacred memorabilia) as well as my future (my wonderful job here at Chinaberry).

I recently asked someone who had lost her home of 35 years how she was able to cope with such a loss, and she told me that you don't need souvenirs to be reminded of all the beautiful moments. I thought back to a magical afternoon when I was fifteen and planted a ''forest'' with my dad, using dozens of seedlings from a local timber company. He talked about how one day the trees would tower over me, my children, and grandchildren, and that I would think of him and our time together that day. No photos exist of this beautiful memory, but that doesn't diminish the smile on my face as I remember that day, so I know this woman's words are true.

Back at the pumpkin patch, my daughter and I shrugged as we smiled at each other, knowing that it was okay that there would be no pictures to memorialize our day. It turned out to be even more than okay, as we found ourselves feeling more present than ever, our focus on each other and the day rather than on trying to capture it on film. For both of us, I suspect, it will go down as a day to remember. Why is it that it often takes a brush with disaster to remind us of our priorities?

As you read this, it will be a new year -- a year bringing us Valentines, Easter baskets, and plenty of photo ops. My goal is to never again get more caught up in the souvenir collecting than in the living. With warm wishes to you all for a year full of living your priorities and being in the moment with those you love.

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Offering Wisdom to New Moms

From our archives -- The Best Good Deed

From our archives -- Embracing the Wonder of Children

From our archives -- Encouraging children to live their bliss

From our archives

Holiday 2013 -- Embracing the World of Wonder

Winter 2013 -- Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving

Fall 2013 -- Finding Beauty in the Everyday Tasks

Late Summer 2013 - Taking Our Own Advice

Midsummer 2013 -- Appreciating Nature's Bounty

Early Summer 2013 -- Being Prepared

Late Spring 2013 -- Having Realistic Expectations

Spring 2013 -- Offering Mothering Wisdom

Early Spring 2013 -- Being True to Our Nature

Holiday 2012 -- Appreciate the Goodness

Winter 2012 -- Enjoying the Anticipation

Early Fall 2012 -- Looking Back to Appreciate Now

Summer 2012 -- Chinaberry's History & Future

Early Summer 2012 -- My Dad

Late Spring 2012 -- My Satisfying Yet Untraditional Upbringing

Spring 2012 - The Consequences of Our Actions

Early Spring 2012 - Learning From Experience

Winter 2011 - The Small Moments

Holiday 2011 - The Good Deed

Fall 2011 - Gratitude

Late Summer 2011 - Overwhelmed? You're Not Alone.

Midsummer 2011 - Louise's Gallery

Early Summer 2011 - Flying 101: Giving Them Wings

Late Spring 2011 - Letting Them Fail

Spring 2011

Early Spring 2011 - Encouraging Your Kids to Live Their Bliss

Fall 2010 - The Chinaberry Commitment

Late Summer 2010 - In the Blink of an Eye

Midsummer 2010 - It's Her Story

Early Summer 2010 - Weathering the Storm

Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Enjoy the Ride

Early Spring 2010 - Enter the Land of Dirt and Bugs

Winter 2009 - Less Cleaning, More Meaning

Holiday 2009 - Finding Gratitude Every Day

Fall 2009 - Teaching Children Through Our Actions

Late Summer 2009 - A Spoonful of Sugar

Midsummer 2009 - Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Early Summer 2009 - Who's the Kid and Who's the Parent?

Late Spring 2009 - Making Connections

Spring 2009 - Fully Engaging With Our Children

Early Spring 2009 - Building Character While Playing Characters

Winter 2008 - Never Underestimate the Value of a Good Hello

Holiday 2008

Fall 2008

Late Summer 2008

Midsummer 2008

Early Summer 2008

Late Spring 2008

Spring 2008

Winter 2007

Holiday 2007

Fall 2007

Late Summer 2007

Midsummer 2007

Early Summer 2007

Late Spring 2007

Spring 2007

Early Spring 2007

Winter 2006

Holiday 2006

Fall 2006

Late Summer 2006

Midsummer 2006

Early Summer 2006

Late Spring 2006

Spring 2006

Early Spring 2006

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