happy birthday, daddy.

As always on Christmas Day, a remembrancer of my father whose birthday is Christmas. He would have been 90 today. Happy birthday, Daddy. Monogram your pancakes “Surviving a loss and letting go is only half of the story. The other half is the secret belief that we will find, in one form or another, what we have lost. And it is that potential, shimmery as a star on a clear night that helps us survive.” – Veronica Chambers “You can’t make pancakes without breaking eggs.” – Spanish proverb My father’s birthday is Christmas day. He has been dead for 36 years, yet he would still only be 90 years old. Cheated, him and me and my children, and theirs. Dead at 53. And cheated too because he was born on Christmas Day. Imagine the cheaty cheat you’d feel if your birthday fell on Christmas, especially as a kid—whatever happened to that other day, the one mid-year, where everyone gets together to sing “Happy Birthday” and play Pin the Tail on the Donkey and eat double chocolate layer cake with small sugar trains on top and shower you with gifts and focus on you alone, celebrating the very fact that you were born into the world? For him, it was all compressed into one relative-heavy day—nothing to look forward to in March or June or August—no, just this one day, his own birth overshadowed by another and, as time went by, overshadowed even more by a large red-suited man with rosacea. Oh, sure, people would say they had combined your Christmas and birthday present to accommodate both occasions, but I can’t...

do you have last minute gifts to get?

I’m not a big shopper. I can’t remember the last time John and I exchanged gifts at Christmas, and we don’t buy a lot for the kids, either. So perhaps I’m the least likely person to compile a gift-giving guide. But when I do give a gift, it’s with intention, so perhaps that makes up for quantity. So, with all that in mind, here are my suggestions for your gift-giving this season: The Giving Keys company not only provides a beautiful gift, but the gift keeps on giving, because the company employs those transitioning out of homelessness. What word will you wear and give?  They suggest you choose a word you need in your life, and then pass it on to someone who needs it more. Global Goods Partners‘ mission is to empower women artisans around the world and helping them create sustainable change in their communities. Why not give a bracelet that does good in the world? I discovered this Calendula Lavender skin creme years ago, and haven’t looked back. It’s a must have for me, and I think you will love it, too. Perhaps for a stocking stuffer–for yourself or others. Mary Anne Radmacher has been making art her whole life. And you probably have one of her cards with her recognizable script on your wall. Go here to buy her inspirational creations, for your own wall or someone else’s. I collect paintings by artist Tom Cornish, and they are the first thing I see when I enter my home. If you are looking to collect work by a contemporary working artist, go here to buy one of Tom’s paintings or drawings....

2017 Hard Conversations Book Club Reading List Announced

I’ve just announced the 2017 reading list for the Hard Conversations Book Group. Feel free to join us! The book group is free and we meet by teleconference call the 3rd Sunday of each month from 8-9pm Eastern to discuss that month’s book. Our focus in 2017 is on books written by women of color: January – Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie February – The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward March – Birdie by Tracey Lindbergh April – Zami by Audre Lorde May – You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson June – Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat July – Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in School by Monique W. Morris August – Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter by Carmen Aguirre September – Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine October – The Sisters are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America by Tamara Winfrey Harris November – Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng December – Borderlands, La Frontera, The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldua Go here to join the Book Club (free)....