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I wanted to give you a heads-up that it is almost time for our annual *The New Black* Friday virtual party.

Every year as an antidote to the consumerism of Black Friday, I like to schedule some cozy time at home to make Love Lists for people in my life.

And I would love it if you would join me!

There’s nothing wrong with shopping or with material gifts — of course!— but I just betcha that there is someone in your life who would most value a gift of love and appreciation! Isn’t there someone who needs a big dose of pure gratitude instead of a chotchke?

AND … it is such a gift to give ourselves some quiet time the day after Thanksgiving to sip some tea and bask in all the joy of what it means to love someone.

In this culture of what’s wrong and not enough, the simple act of focusing on what’s right and what we love can lift our spirits and give us a boost of happy endorphins.

Click on over to the event page on Facebook, where you can say yes to attending this virtual event + then you’ll receive all my updates before and during the event. (You can say yes even if you’re not sure you can make a Love List that day, so you can be a part of the conversation and maybe plan on making a Love List another day! You will be with us in spirit!)



Free Tele-Call with Special Guests The Creativity Caravan
Hope you can join us for another knock-their-socks-off Love List Making call with Maya Stein and Amy Tingle of The Creativity Caravan. Amy and Maya ooze creativity and have tons of ideas for brainstorming your list! In honor of *The New Black* Friday, we’ll walk you step-by-step through making a creative Love List that you can give as a gift.

Put this on your calendar:
When: Friday, November 24
Time: 10am PT/1pm ET/6pm UK
Call-in: 641.715.3655
Code: 309893#

Seek celebration — even in the dark corners,

Do this if you can!

Hello hello!

Last week, a new coaching client sent me a link to her blog. She’d illustrated our coaching session! (That’s it up above!) I just grinned when I saw it.

And it has made me happy every time I’ve looked at it.

If you are someone who is talented at drawing/illustration, I want to tell you what a tremendous gift it is for people to receive your drawings.

I’m going to print Ingrid’s art out and frame it! I love how she depicted me with whimsical clothing and sprinkling some kind of fairy dust. And I love that this drawing is a reminder to myself to do the things that bring joy and excitement to life.

I know some of you are visual artists. I don’t have that kind of talent, but wow-oh-wow do I appreciate it.

Never forget what joy you can bring to others through your art! (This could be drawing, painting, sketching, collage, photography, etc!!)

Anyone else have a story about receiving (or giving!) a personal artwork? C’mon over to my Present Perfect Gifts Group on Facebook and share your story with us. Extra joy credit if you post a photo for me to see!

Seek celebration, even in the dark corners—


P.S. You can check out Ingrid’s nearly-brand-new blog, Lill Notes, and see her other illustrations here. I love her fresh talent, humor, and joy! What an awesome new client, eh? #luckyme

P.P.S. If you’ve considered coaching, but just aren’t sure it is right for you, I have an introductory package so you can get to know me and also kickstart something fun in your life. My Jumpstart Juicy is special rate on four sessions: Purchased separately, these four calls would cost $240. But as a six-week committed “juicy yes!,” you get all that coaching energy and oomph for just $179.

{Video} What do you need?

The other day my friend Laurie came over to my house. On an impulse, we turned the phone’s video on and recorded a short conversation about how we steady ourselves during difficult times.

Laurie and I talk about how important it is to get aligned and connected during times of darkness and despair. What do we use as a lifeboat when the waters are rockin’ us and we’re scared?

We share how our creativity practices help us find moments of beauty, color, and peace when the world feels wobbly.


What practices support you in your life? 

I hope you’ll watch the first few minutes and take some time to consider what practices you have in your life that really keep you aligned with yourself. What things bring you home and center you so you can be there for others when they need you? Painting? Photography? Writing? Gratitude?

You’ve likely seen my previous posts about the Mr. Rogers’ quote and the world’s “helpers.” Right now there is a huge need for people who can be helpers and who can be bringers of light. To do this, we need to be solid within ourselves.

If you watch past the first segment, you’ll see that we added some information about an offering our friend, Andrea Scher is making that just goes ’til midnight tonight. This offering is a $99 Bundle of Creativity classes which includes Laurie’s Wild Writing class, Andrea’s iPhone photography class, and my own eCourse, Nightlight: Finding Celebration Even in Life’s Darkest Moments.

I encourage you to check out Andrea’s offering to see if any of these classes might support you right now. All but two of them have no expiration date, so you can slowly savor them.


A little more about my class offering (Nightlight) and Laurie’s (Wild Writing)

I’m thrilled that there is a whole new group of people taking my class, “Nightlight: Finding Celebration, Even in Life’s Darkest Moments.” This is a class all about noticing, finding, and creating tiny moments of well-being and joy, no matter what is happening. I consciously created the class in a platform that allows for you to spend just 5 or ten minutes at time in bite-sized chunks. This class is the heart of my work in the world, and I would love to have you join. It is regularly $77, so you can take this class and all the others for just an additional $23!




I can speak from personal experience about Laurie’s class offering, “27 Wild Days.” For many years, Laurie has been offering classes called Wild Writing, in which participants write without judgment, criticism, or expectation. It is an amazing process that helps free me from any attempt to meet any internal or external standards — and just get to tell the truth on paper. I always say that this Wild Writing Practice is so aligned with my Zen Practice because it helps teach me to invite everything into the room — and into my heart. All parts of me are welcome.


What I really want to say… 

There is a lot happening in the world that could easily pull us into the darkness. Be gentle and generous with yourself right now, okay? Take a deep breath often. Give yourself small joys. Ask for help. Connect to others. Reach for the pen or paintbrush and create something from your heart.

Ask yourself, “What do I really need?” Then do your darndest to give yourself whatever it is. And top it off with extra love.

Seek celebration — even in the dark corners,


P.S. I would be so honored and delighted to have you in my Nightlight Class! The $99 sale goes til midnight tonight. If you do join, send me a special note to tell me that you did so. I’d like to gift you with a free one-on-one coaching boost call sometime during the time we’re together in the class.

Creativity as Medicine


As I write this, fires are raging just north of here in the North Bay and Wine Country. But even before I awoke yesterday to this latest news of disaster, I’d been talking to my close friends about how to stay steady when the world feels so wobbly.

I don’t need to make a list of all of the scary things. We’ve all been reading about them, living through them, experiencing them.

What I do want to do is talk about how we take care of ourselves and everyone around us when the world feels so shaky.

Are there ways to stay grounded and aligned with ourselves? Who do we want to be in the midst of difficult times? Can we find small moments of well-being and peace when there is despair all around us? 

My friend, Andrea Scher, founder of Superhero Life, let me record a 20-minute conversation about one of her own superpowers — using creativity as a path to finding moments of beauty and truth in life so she doesn’t get swallowed up in the dark.

Andrea says, “Creative practices show me that we have a choice, moment to moment, about how we want to hold and see what’s happening in the world at large and in our own private lives. And it doesn’t mean that we deny the pain and suffering that is going on. However, when you are sensitive creatures like we are, you can get swallowed up just by listening to the news in the morning.”


Andrea, like me, practices finding singular moments of joy as a way to take care of herself during all times of life, but especially when things feel out of control, frightening, or depressing. Like she said, “It doesn’t do anyone any good for me to get swallowed up by the news and crawl into bed and feel helpless.”

Instead, Andrea uses her creativity practices so she can show up in the world as a bright light for others.

Yesterday, when the smell of smoke and the news of the wildfires was at the forefront of everyone’s minds, my good friend, Suki, sent an email saying something similar. Her note was so beautiful, I want to share a portion with you:

“The smoke from the fires is thick in SF today.  I was going to stay home but I watched a clip of the Ellen show which she dedicated to the Helpers in the world. She featured person after person who is trying to help where help is needed.  

I am not a person who cries easily and I cried all of the way through it.  And yet, as I cried, there was this, as my dear friend Sherry would say, tiny pinprick of hope that entered my heart as I watched evidence of the goodness in this world.  

So, I have decided to go out into the world and focus on being a Helper today to every single person I meet, including me.” 

Like Suki, we are faced with this choice every single day. Do we pull the covers over our heads and simply try to survive? Or can we find the strength to be a helper —  a pinprick of light for ourselves and others?

This is what’s possible. It is possible for our hearts to be broken and for us to feel scared, but that nevertheless, we turn our attention to how we want to be in the world. We can slowly pull on our shoes, head out the door, and muster the energy and courage to be the light we want to offer.

Circling back to my friend, Andrea, I want to tell you about something special she is up to right now. Andrea has gathered up a small group of people who have creative offerings— mostly classes, but also an eBook— to bundle together into a really affordable deal for people who crave new inspiration and creative outlets right now.

One of the classes in this grouping is my own eCourse called Nightlight. Nightlight is all about helping us find and create pinpricks of light for ourselves and others, even in life’s darkest moment.

This is an offering of light and joy during a time when there is much suffering and sadness. It is a lifeboat, in a way. It is medicine to help us heal and to stay connected to all the beauty that still exists in the world. 

These nine offerings are just $99 for the next few days — until midnight on Thursday the 12th. My Nightlight class is normally $77 just by itself. So for an additional $22, you can also take Andrea’s iPhone Photo Class, Laurie Wagner’s Wild Writing Class, or any of the other creative offerings.

Whether or not you are interested in these creative classes, I do hope you’ll listen to my conversation with Andrea as a way to give yourself a few moments of uplift today.

Be gentle and generous with yourself, okay?

Seek celebration, even in the dark corners—


P.S. Here’s the link to listen my 20-minute conversation with Andrea Scher about using creativity to help us through these dark times.

P.P.S. Here’s the link to read about the nine creative offerings available for just $99 until Thursday at midnight. I promise you, you’ll feel uplifted simply by reading the descriptions!

{Video} Celebrating in the Dark

One of the places in life where it can seem like there’s no room for celebration is when people are grieving, lost, ill, or lonely.

But I define “celebration” as choosing to be present to what is going on in our lives and finding a way to connect. Celebration is the ability to offer (or receive) that one little pinpoint of light that changes everything when things feel pitch black.

There is a quiet joy, a comfort, in sharing sorrow. It can bring us to a place of remembering our shared humanity and fragility. It can weave us together in love.

I had a beautiful conversation about this with my dear friend, Jane Duncan Rogers, whose business is dedicated to helping people have a good death + supporting those left behind with their grief.

In our 30-minute video conversation, we talked about a lot of things. But one of them was “What kinds of gifts can I bring for someone who is grieving?” And also, “How do I prepare myself if my gift is not well received.”

We also talked a lot about the gift of showing up, exactly as who we are, for someone we love. There is no way to put a price on what it can mean to someone to sit beside them and simply hold their hand. We know this place for ourselves, right? That loving energy is a tremendous gift. Jane and I talk about how to take care of and prepare ourselves for showing up when someone is grieving.

I hope you’ll watch the half-hour conversation + let me know what you think.

Seek celebration, even in the dark corners—


P.S. One of the places where I practice celebrating in the dark is when I’m writing my Birthday Kindness Project letters, which I’ve been doing for the past six years. Many of the people I am writing to have experienced deep grief or loss. They may be depressed or feeling hopeless. I use some of the tools I talk about in that video with Jane to center myself and care for myself in order to write these letters. I’m continuing to feel deep gratitude to all of you who have requested letters. I’ll be opening up some slots again soon!

Suffering Succotash


I want to remind you to take care of yourself. Exquisite care. Heroic self-care.

It is always important, but especially when you might be feeling grief, loss, sadness, fear or physical pain.

It’s been a tough couple weeks over here in my world and it has reminded me to make sure I’m doing everything I can to be kind and compassionate with myself.

So I thought maybe I’d remind you, too!

Sometimes simply reading the news can affect us so deeply on an emotional level.

All the heartbreaking photos of starving children in Yemen, the flooding in Houston, the Rohingya refugees fleeing to Bangladesh, the continued crisis in Syria, the terrorist bombings, and so much more can weigh our hearts down.

It does mine. Which is why I limit the amount of news I read. That’s one form of self-care. I try to stay updated on world events and to donate to causes that touch me, but I also limit exposure — especially when I am feeling depleted. We need to fill up our wells so that we have a place to give from.

As you may know, I’m in the midst of a Birthday Kindness Project in which I write letters to strangers who are grieving, lost, or lonely. I love the beautiful connections I get to make with the people who request the letters. I am uplifted by the love people’s friends and family express. But it is also a project that reminds me daily of the depth of human pain.

My spiritual teacher, Cheri Huber, always says, “It can be really hard to be a human.” That’s why we need to take such good care of ourselves and everyone else.

On top of those other things, these past couple weeks my dear little family was going through its own crisis. I found myself getting overwhelmed with stress, fear, and exhaustion.

I had to remind myself over and over to seek or create a pinprick of light. I posted online in various places and asked people to tell me about happy moments. I called friends and asked for help. I stood outside at nightfall and let myself focus in the fresh smell in the air and the fluttering of birds nearby. I noticed white butterflies flitting outside my studio. I went to dance class. I took hot baths. I let myself cry when I needed to. I read cards in my “happy notes” folder. I listened to lots and lots of self-mentoring audios I’ve created through the years.

Each of these things was a little pinprick of light.

And what I want you to know is that in any moment, all you need is just one bit of light.

My whole Simply Celebrate business was created on this life practice and it has continued to work for me all these years. Our lives happen in moments. And in single moments we can always turn our attention to one thing that we love or that brings us joy. And as soon as we do so — we are headed out of the dark tunnel and toward the light.

Then, it is just a matter of rinse and repeat.

If you haven’t ever heard my story about how pinpricks of light and celebration saved my life 20+years ago when I was caught behind an iron wall of depression/anxiety, you can watch the video I created here.

And if you want some wee inspiration about “How to Survive in the Dark,” you can hear me read my 8-page tiny book here.

Sending big love your way.

Seek celebration; even in the dark corners,


P.S. I’ve written about 20 letters thus far for my 53-53-53 Birthday Kindness Project. Thank you to everyone who has requested a letter for someone in your life. I am so touched by how much love and compassion there is out there.

I’m headed out of town for business this week + won’t be able to write my letters while away. So I am not yet ready to invite more of you to request letters. But when I return next week, I’ll be sending out an email request. So think about if you know someone who needs extra love + you can respond to my note next week, okay?

In the meantime, do what you can to seek and create those pinpricks of light for people who need ’em. Including yourself.

It’s been a really tough week with a lot of incredibly difficult and sad things happening in the world.

Today my friend Celenia Delsol posted this note on my Facebook wall for me, along with a link to a beautiful and uplifting video: “With all the political (and some personal) nonsense that’s been going on, I’m finding myself drawn to stories of love. I believe it’s important to follow current events to understand (or at least try to) the forces affecting our lives, but LOVE is a majestic force as well and deserves top billing. Don’t ya think?”

My answer is YES.

Yes, yes, yes.

Love is a majestic force and it does deserve top billing.

(Thank you, Celenia!)

It isn’t always easy to find that place of love and compassion when everything around us can seem like madness.

That’s why I want to share two videos with you!

One is a conversation I had with my dear poet friend, Maya. The other is a tribute to a 42-year-old artist, Briar Bates, who recently passed away.

Grab your favorite mug, fill it with some tea, and get ready for some loving and hopefully thought-provoking conversation …

Finding love in difficult times

Maya Stein sent out a beautiful poem on Tuesday called “Remembering Charlottesville,” which spoke to a memory of inclusiveness and connection in a town that is getting a lot of media attention for hatred and violence.

In this video, I share the poem at the start of the conversation and then Maya and I talk about how to find that place of connection, love, and compassion when it feels elusive.

I apologize for the technology glitches — Mercury Retrograde!— but if you’ll bear with it, I think you’ll find a treasure trove of helpful ideas and tools. I know I did!

I particularly love where the conversation went at minute 20 when we talked about the overwhelm that can happen in times like this. And then a bit later, the question of “what is my role?”

If you listen in, please leave a comment under the YouTube video and let us know what you think.


Briar’s last gift from her friends

This is the video that Celenia posted to my Facebook wall.

When I watched it, I was in tears. I love this beautiful + quirky way that Briar’s friends celebrated her artistic spirit.

I love when one of them said, “Not only does grief not have to be private, it doesn’t have to be sad.”

Take the time to watch this; it is uplifting + life-affirming. You will be filled with light, I promise.

Here’s to seeking celebration, even in the dark corners,

Wrestling with Demons

I want to share a short free-write that was my response to the prompt, “wrestle,” given in a writing group I’m in. I’ll explain why I’m sending this to you after you read it …

In the middle of the night I wrestle the proverbial demons. You know them. The ones who say, “Your shoes are wrong, you do not belong, the cake is dry, your eyelids sag, this isn’t good enough, the foundation is dust, the key is lost, the paint is cracked, there are scorpions in your flower box, you are not good enough.”

They make a slideshow for me of all my failings. The highlight reel includes near misses of big success, unwritten works, other people’s shiny trophies, awards lost at sea, moments of pleasure buried in the sand on remote islands impossible to reach.

They scratch their threats in the granite bed I am lying on. Their favorite is, “you will die with everything stillborn.”

They pound single words on the back of my neck with heavy hammers of shame, aiming for places where the vertebrae are weakest. Fraud. Fake. Klutz. Cardboard. Mouse.

Sometimes they grab hold of my hands and twirl me around until I’m dizzy with fear. They breathe thick, foul breath of confusion. Strangled black flowers whose petals curl and wilt.

They lead me, blindfolded, to steep cliffs and behind my back they whisper about the beauty of the lilac sunset, an eagle soaring, and the way the waves crash against the rocks. They sing about the color blue in a language I cannot understand. They hide my favorite hat and pretend my dog has run away.

I wrestle in the dark; I try to avoid the thick skin of all those snakes writhing between the sheets. I swat the spiders, black bellies large as lemons, away, away, away.

Lying in bed, pitch black darkness, thick as tar, and I am wrestling with fog. With carbon monoxide. With the smell of burning rubber when something in the engine is not quite right.

And then, you see, I get it. The art of wrestling demons always comes down to this: turn on the light + look around.

No spiders. No snakes. No blindfold cliff. No dead flowers. No ropes. No chains.

No monsters in the child’s closet.

Just me. Human. Hands extended with fistfuls of wanting. Pockets full of slips of paper with reminders of who I want to be. Me, like the trained elephant that thought she couldn’t simply walk away. Body, full of juice, full of lust, perfumed and ready. Music starting, lover’s feet already waltzing, already inviting.

There are no lit up scoreboards. No standings. No holds. No takedown. No newspaper accounts of who has won.

The wrestling match is over. The dance has just begun.


So, why in the heck is your Simply Celebrate lady sending you this piece about darkness and demons?

Because I want you to remember THE LIGHT.

The light is always just within reach, ready for us to turn it on.

The light is always here. Where we are.

We are the light.

Listen, do the demons ever come after you in the middle of the night? Those incessant and cruel voices-in-the-head that try to keep you from peaceful sleep? The ones that have nothing helpful to say, in fact they are downright cruel, but for some reason, they catch your attention anyway?

When this happens, I want you to think about this piece I wrote.

I want you to remember that all that scary stuff in your head in the dark is not real. 

You have to turn on the light.


Literally, for one thing. That helps.

But turning on the light can also be using every bit of strength you have to wrest your attention away from what’s going on in your head and turn it toward something else. Something that is supportive and loving.

Could be you make a list of everyone you love. Maybe you also list all the colors you love. Smells you love. Words you love. Anything.

Maybe you read yourself a poem out loud.

Maybe you call a friend or wake up someone in the house. (People love to be asked for help! It makes us feel good. Don’t worry; they’ll ask you for support someday, too.)

Give yourself music, a bubble bath, mint tea, a Netflix comedy show.

Do not lie there in the dark and take it. No wrestling.

Turn on the light.

Dance with your own kindness and care.

Be the light you know you are.


P.S. That nightlight pic up above is used with permission from Karine at an Etsy store, Veille SurToi. Cute, eh? That’ll keep your heart bright in the middle of the night.



I just posted a new two-minute video that speaks to some things that are truly at the heart of life. (At least I think so. And I hope you do, too!)

I really want to know what comes up for you when you hear what I share in this video!

Leave a comment for me on YouTube so I can include you in a special drawing next week. See the postscript below for all the details.

I’m grateful for your time, your thoughts, + who you are!




P.S. After you leave a comment on the YouTube video, please email me to tell me that you did so. I’m gonna put everyone’s name in a hat + draw two names: someone who will win a Love List coaching session (where we talk for 30 minutes and then I create a PDF gift for someone you love) and someone else who will win an Audio LoveGram gift. I can help you #sayitnow! (Leave your comment by 7/3/17 at 12n PT)

{Video} Will you do this? 

Hello! This 10-minute video re-posted from yesterday’s Facebook Live, includes a request, a poem, and a last-minute gift idea for Father’s day.

I hope you’ll take the time to watch the video and then consider this: Do you know someone who may need extra love on Father’s Day?

Is there someone in your life whose dad has recently passed away? Maybe someone whose dad passed away long ago, but you know how much they still miss him? How about a divorced dad or a widower who might be raising young children on his own? Perhaps you know a dad whose child has passed away? Maybe you know someone who desperately wanted to be a father, but was never able to have children?

If there is anyone in your life who might be feeling an acute loss or grieving on Father’s Day, would you reach out to them with a call, email, or text to let them know that you are thinking about them and sending love. 

(If you wanted to go the extra mile for someone who is grieving, you could include a photo and some loving memories of the person who died. It always help to hear beautiful memories about someone we miss dearly.)

The few minutes it takes you to reach out to someone who might be feeling alone or sad on Father’s Day might mean the world to that person. Sometimes just knowing that someone else understands how we’re feeling can change everything.

Thanks for being willing to consider this today.





P.S. If you are a father or someone who loves a father or you have a father figure in your life or you are a father figure to someone, I’m sending you big love and celebration on Father’s Day.


The poem, Shoulders, in the video is copyright Naomi Shihab Nye. 

My friend Linda, whom I mention in the video story about her Father’s Day gift to her children, is owner of Mind Over Matter Coaching. Thank you, Linda! 

Do try this at home, folks!

I just returned from two weeks visiting my mom and couldn’t wait to share this celebration/gift idea with you! You know how they always say, “Don’t try this at home, folks?”  Well, this is something to “do try!”

See that photo above? It is my mom, myself, and my niece Nikki. But look what we did! We switched our clothes and tried to stand like one another so we could really feel a sense of what it is to be that person.

It may not look like much. But let me tell you, doing this had us in giggles for hours. I don’t know exactly what it was about it, but it was super fun.

The experience itself was such a gift because it was something so out of the ordinary and such silly fun.

But … mwahahaha! Now, I can also make this into a tangible gift by printing up the triptych photo for my mom and niece as gifts they can treasure as keepsakes.

(Mom, I know you read these posts … so just try to forget you read that last sentence, so you will be surprised when I send you the photo gift!)

Do you think you’d be willing to try this with your own family? You could switch with a parent, child, spouse, or grandparent. You could also switch with your BFF! Heck, you can switch with the mailman if you want! (Er, if he/she agrees!)


I’ve come up with a few helpful hints ‘n tips for doing this. Ready?

  • First, decide how many people you want for your photo. Two would be the simplest. But play around and see what works best for you.
  • You’ll want to appoint someone to be your photographer/director who can get a really good shot for the original photo, where you’re wearing your own clothes. That person can then look at that original photo + help you replicate it once you’ve switched clothes.
  • After you take the original photo, put tape on the porch where your feet should go so you get the stance right from the bottom up.
  • Wear accessories so that you can easily switch them + they showcase someone’s personality. Glasses, jewelry, handbags, etc. (We wished we had done more of that; we didn’t think about it.)
  • If the people in the photo are different heights/weights, try wearing black pants so you don’t have to switch the pants. (We didn’t plan this, but it turned out we were all wearing black pants and that made it so much easier!)
  • Try to take a stance that feels most like you. Most like how you would typically stand in the world.
  • If you want a laughing shot, ask your photographer/director to help make you laugh. (Ian made goofy faces at us.)
  • Have fun! That’s the whole point, right?


Here’s to putting ourselves in others’ shoes — and lovin’ it ,



P.S. Please post in the comments if you try this, okay! I definitely want to hear. And pretty please email me a photo: sherry@simplycelebrate.net.

P.P.S. If you missed my email last week, I had some suggestions on fun surprises for people you love. And I shared a photo of my beau, Ian, on the roof of the house, mid-surprise! Experiences are gifts! Read here. 


Can you think of a time that you surprised someone with a non-tangible gift?

Or did someone ever surprise you with a memorable moment? 

I’m visiting my family in Ohio. We told them that my beau, Ian, wasn’t going to be able to join us this year. But actually, he planned to fly in separately from me since he had frequent flyer miles on a different airline and he was coming in on a later day than me. 

See that photo up above? This is how Ian “showed up.” He was on the roof of the house, reading a book, when they drove up!

I love the joy of these kinds of moments.

Gifts of the non-tangible nature.

Such fun!

If it was easy for you to remember being surprised or surprising someone, you know what this experience is like and how it stands out. Some of these moments we remember forever because they were so unusual. 

I’m hoping this post might inspire you to create a magical surprise moment for someone in your life today!

What would it be? Anything come to mind? 

Here are a few magical moment ideas to jumpstart your creativity:

  • Have some bubble containers handy and surprise your children when they come home for dinner by blowing bubbles as they arrive. 
  • Set the table with all the good china, linen napkins, and candles — even if you’re having pizza for dinner. 
  • Pack up a blanket, red/white checked cloth, and a picnic basket full of dessert. Then pile everyone in the car and head to an overlook to watch the sunset someplace beautiful. 
  • Turn on the stereo and have a dance party
  • Print up an old photo of your sister or best friend from when you were kids. Buy a game of “Twister” at a thrift shop or on Ebay. Serve up your favorite childhood food and delight in the memories. 

If you have a story to share of a favorite surprise, I hope you’ll post your story on my blog — in the comments!


Photo Party!


On Mother’s Day I posted a  dance party video online that was full of goofy fun — my mom, niece, and I dancing in costumes while my 12-year-old son directed us by shouting choreography: “Twirl your hats!” “Spin!” “Nana, do a solo dance!”

I’ve been thinking about how much fun it was to share that old footage with my mom, niece, and the rest of the family. We had some good laughs over it!

And it made me recall something else that happened recently: my dear friend Tricia told me that she had a box full of photos that she had brought from her mom’s house — and so we decided to have a photo party.

We each had a glass of wine and we spent hours looking through photos from all of Tricia’s life.

It was so much fun!

I loved the stories she shared as particular photos sparked long-forgotten memories. I saw photos of her as a little kid with her brother next to the Christmas tree. I saw photos of her riding horses. I saw photos of her dad painting. I saw her family outside by the picnic table back in the 70’s.

I also saw photos from times I’d shared with Tricia several decades ago! “Look at our hair!” “Oh that cabin was so beautiful.” “Remember him?!”

Do you have boxes or albums of photos from years gone by? Or maybe you have ready-made slide shows in your computer files?

Would you consider inviting someone you love to come have a photo party?! It is a wonderful way to get to share stories with someone you’ve known a long time — or maybe a new friend whom you recently met!

You could also ask a friend of yours if they have photos and if you could invite yourself to come take a peek!

Our lives are made up of memorable moments. Share these memories with someone you love!

If you try it, let me know in the comments below what it was like!


P.S. One of the things Tricia has in her big box of photos was this mock magazine cover I had made for her when we both worked at a humane society. (Our nonprofit’s magazine was called Pawprint.) She was leaving to take another job and I remember creating this for her as a keepsake back in 1993! No doubt, I’ve always loved creating one-of-a-kind gifts. It was such fun to see one again after all these years!


This morning I awoke into a rush of anxiety and adrenaline. We need to vacate our San Francisco flat by June 1, but don't yet have a new home.

It's not that we'll be homeless. I know that. There are many places we can go, even temporarily. But I'm the kind of girl who loves thick roots. I'm the kind of girl who finds deep deep comfort in home. In "this is the sunny spot where the cats nap at 3pm," "this is where I read my book and chomp popcorn after Kayne goes to bed," "this is the window out of which I watch the fog float by Sutro Tower, always changing, always beautiful."  I love the illusion of safety, comfort, and stability.

We've lived here for eleven years. And I love that I have memories of my son at two, padding up and down the halls in his diaper. Or at four, wearing a pink cheetah-print dress, strands of brightly-colored necklaces, and a crazy hat. Or all the years of elementary school, sitting in our sunny kitchen with him as he does his homework. I love the pencil markings on the wall of his ever-increasing height, as he has oh-so-quickly shot up to nearly my own five feet two. I love the yellowed sign hanging on the door that says, "The quieter you become, the more you can hear," that has been there for more than a decade.

As the uprooting has happened, all the packing away and sorting and tossing, I've increasingly felt like I'm losing everything. Things I used to be able to count on or to hold are gone. Everything is in flux. I feel lost, even to myself.

So you can imagine what a gift it was to me this morning when I found that my friend Maya had posted a short piece of writing online about how we carry our lives within us. How there are rooms within us for all of our loves and memories and small moments of joy. It was the perfect medicine for me, helping me to remember that I am my own foundation. No matter where I go, I carry with me all of everything I love. And there is room for so much more.

One of the little miracles of this short piece of writing was — I wrote it. At first I didn't remember. But then I saw my name and the date at the bottom of the entry. Last year when Maya was on her Typerider journey, she posted the prompts she was offering every day. A group of us followed along in an online community. This (below) is my submission on June 10, 2012. Little did I know then that I was sending some medicine to my future self … a little bit of healing from far away to now:

"I choose to believe that I am safe. That life is kind. That coffee is
not really bad for me.
I choose to believe that doing yoga will create
more space inside of me so that I can build more shelves, stash more
memories, expand that walk-in closet of my belly…I choose to
believe I can breathe so deep that the heart grows a little bigger,
that the lungs hold more air, that the chest walls st
retch to allow
room for the twelve red helium balloons I gulped in. I choose to
believe that when I die, when they cut me open to distribute parts
here and there, that they’ll find my mother’s laugh that day when she
had a marshmallow stuck to her upper lip from her cocoa. That they’ll
find the red Fluevogs and matching cloche. That they’ll find the
firepit and all the smoky laughter. That they’ll find my happy
cheerleading skirt with the blue and gold pleats. That they’ll find
dried mango slices and the sound of a ukulele at the beach. That
they’ll find drawers of my son’s silly songs and colorful artwork.
That they’ll find the bicentennial gold coin, the Archie comics, the
one small bunny that darted across the lawn that morning in San Diego.

I choose to believe that I can breathe it all in, like liquid color.
That I can dig a basement, fill the attic, stuff the hall closets of
my body full of things that tickle and tick. I choose to believe that
there are endless hidden passageways and cubbyholes, just waiting for
me — inside of me. I choose to believe there is room for it all."

Sherry Richert Belul, June 10, 2012


I wonder if Maya knew how important this was to me today. I suspect she did. And as I send it out to all of you, I send with it my hope that there is someone else out there who needs this medicine. Someone else, searching for home, internal or extrenal, who might find some comfort in what you carry, in what is yours, always.



Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday.

I’m incredibly fortunate that I’m not only a mom to an amazing son, I am also the daughter of a wonderful mom. Mother’s Day is a time that I feel celebrated by my family and also when I get to appreciate and celebrate my own mom.

But believe me, I don’t take these relationships for granted. I know how lucky I am.

For many people, Mother’s Day can be filled with longing or loss.

It can be a hard day for anyone whose mom has passed away, whose children have died, who were never able to have children, or who may have difficult relationships with their kids or mom. It can also be a hard day for single moms who don’t have a partner to plan a celebration for them or make the day special.

I wrote about this last year in a Mother’s Day blog post. I encouraged everyone to reach out in some way to someone who might be having a hard time. I hope you’ll consider doing that this year, as well. A call or text to say, “I’m thinking of you,” can means so much.

In that post, I also told you about an idea my friend Roberta, a single mom, inspired. I hope it is okay for me to share this idea again right now.

Is there a mom in your life who needs a little TLC or boost of love? It may be your own mom, a friend, a neighbor, or an aunt.

All you need for this gift is a recording device. (You can use your smartphone if you have one!) This gift can be created at the last minute and makes an incredible, everlasting treasured gift.

Click here to read about this simple no-cost gift you can create for a mom in your life who needs some TLC.

I promise you, this won’t cost a dime and can be created in 15 minutes. Whaaaaat? Click on the link above to find out!



P.S. I hope you don’t mind that I’m using an older photograph, which you may have seen before. (My son now shaves his head!) I *really* wanted to send this gift idea out to you today, but am on deadline with a humongous wonderful Celebration Book for an anniversary party. I’m taking a break from the design process to connect with you.

P.P.S. Hi Mom! (One of the many wonderful things about my mom is that she reads every blog post I write. If I ask a question in them, she always responds. Usually with something that makes me laugh out loud.)

Bubble Flash Mob, Anyone?


I made a gift for you: it is a four-minute video filled with bubble joy!

Treat yourself to these few minutes of pure happiness. (Be sure and watch full screen to get all the oomph!)

I had a blast creating it — and I think you’ll smile big when you watch it.

Bubble Flash mobs (bubbles + two or more people + a starting time) are simple, inexpensive gifts we can give to a whole group of people at one time.

They are magical.

You can create this magic.

Would you consider doing this for your next family gathering or company picnic? Can you imagine going to the park, a children’s playground, or a concert and handing out bubbles to strangers?

Could you keep a dozen containers of bubble solution in your garage and be at the ready with a surprise when you see a group of neighborhood children playing?

Watch my short video and then take the idea and make it a gift with your own twist.

Let me know what you think!

Feeling giddy,



Photo gratitude: Black and white photo of my beau, Ian copyright John Nieto Photography.  Color photo of Ian and me copyright Andrea Scher Photography


This blog post is an edited reprint from my Simply Celebrate newsletter in 2011. 

This morning I attended a dance class in the Mission. At one point during the class, Michael Franti’s, “Say Hey (I Love You)” was playing and we were shimmying all over the place.

The woman in front of me was giggling. The gal beside me had a big grin on her face. I looked in the mirror and noticed women of all shapes and sizes, moving to the music in our choreographed dance.

Then suddenly, I burst into tears.

I was struck with this huge wave of gratitude and joy. And I’ll tell you why.

It was simply this: I was dancing.

I spent most of life wanting to be someone who danced. In fact, for almost 45 years I longed to be the sort of woman who could dance.

I wanted to learn choreography or swing dance. I wanted to samba, salsa, or waltz. I used to watch people dancing to musicals on stage or at weddings with their partners and I’d feel this deep desire to be that kind of person.

I was so envious of people who could dance.

But alas, my mind always told me that I just wasn’t that kind of person. In fact, what I got told was that I was as gawky as a nine-year-old, with no sense of rhythm or style. So many years passed by and I never even considered taking a dance class because the fear around it was so strong.

But then, a few years ago, something happened. I noticed that it was Bay Area National Dance Week and that lots of dance studios were offering free classes. Some courage welled up inside of me and I decided to attend a dance class for beginners. It was choreographed dance moves to all kinds of music.

I told myself that all I had to do was to go to the class and endure it. I didn’t have to be comfortable. (Fat chance of that!). I didn’t have to be able to follow the moves. (Ditto that!). I didn’t have to be graceful or have rhythm or anything. All I had to do was manage to be in the class without crying or throwing up.

And you know what? I did it.

I went to class and didn’t cry or throw up. I survived!

That gave me the courage to go again. And again. And again.


Several years passed and this morning, smack dab in the middle of the same exact dance class I started with way back when, I realized something: Here I am, having a great time. Here I am at a dance class and I am comfortable and following all the moves with my own style.

I am a woman who dances.

I saw so clearly how hard conditioned mind works to keep me small and closed. All those years I believed I couldn’t dance.

What else is it telling me I can’t do?

What other lies am I buying into?

Bay Area National Dance Week is actually here again. It started yesterday. If there is something in your own life that you’re being told that you can’t do, I encourage you to use Dance Week as a metaphor for stepping into life in a new (jiggy kind of) way.

I hereby give you permission to just show up to whatever it is you want to be or do.


Here are the simple tools I used to become someone who dances. I tell myself these things every time I want to learn something new:

  • All you have to do is show up and be present.
  • You can even cry or throw up.
  • Be gentle and don’t judge yourself.
  • Just do it and trust that life will help.
  • Enjoy participating.
  • Remember beginner’s mind.
  • You got this. I’m here with you.


I hope you’ll try saying these things to support yourself!

Doing the happy dance as I write to you,



P.S. Please don’t wait to gift yourself by doing that thing you always wanted to do. Dance the night away. Before it’s too late and the music stops.

P.P.S. In a burst of extra courage, I posted a two-minute video from the 2012 Bay Area Dance Week Flash Mob dance I participated in. I was so scared to dance in public! But I did it. You can do it to. Whatever your “it” is! I believe in you.


Photos copyright Christina Shook Photography (Thank you Christina!)


If you’re making an Easter Basket for someone in your life — be it a kid or a kid-at-heart— consider mixing in some love with the jellybeans!

I just wrote a short and simple how-to for Huffington Post on making a Love List Easter Basket. It would mean a lot to me if you would comment + share so Easter baskets all over the world will be filled with loving messages in addition to other kinds of sweets! (Their comment icon is to the top left of the article, under the social media buttons. It looks like a conversation bubble!)

If you email me and tell me that you left a comment or shared that Huff Post link on social media, I will send you a free Love List Ten Pak in appreciation. That’s ten professionally designed Love List templates you can print out, fill out, and give out to friends and family. They’re great when you need a last-minute gift!

Love better! Say it now.

May your day be filled with sweet things,

P.S. I have a life goal to inspire 1,000,000 Love Lists. Can you help me with this? By clicking over to my Huffington Post article and leaving some likes, comments, and shares, more people will add a Love List to their Easter gifts. The powers that be at HP watch for comments + shares and then they promote articles based on that. So your comments and shares could really help inspire more love in the world! Don’t forget to look for the social media buttons to the top left of the article. The comment bubble is right there.


A tiny bubble gift for a small stranger.

I was shopping this morning at a local Walgreens. The cashier was ringing up all my purchases when I heard the word, “bubbles!” whispered behind me.

I turned around and there was this darling little girl dressed head to toe in pink. She must have been about seven years old. Her mom was beside her, holding a bottle of shampoo she was about to buy.

The girl was looking at my purchases about to be bagged: a pile of small bottles of bubble solution I was getting for Sunday’s Bubble Flash Mob.

I smiled at the little girl and said, “Would you like some bubbles?”

She said, “yes!” and flashed this shy, quick, little smile at me.

The bubble containers were blue, yellow, and pink. I knew which color she’d choose, of course. But I said, “What color would you like?”

She said, “pink!” in the cutest squeaky little voice.

When I handed her the bubbles, she just grinned at me. And she held them up to her mom with glee.

Twenty-five cents. That’s what that little pink bottle of bubble solutions cost. The gift to me of that little’s girl’s smile? Priceless.

We just don’t know when the opportunity for a small gift to a stranger might present itself. I’m glad I was paying attention.

Listen as you go about your life. And if you hear a little whisper — “bubbles” or otherwise — heed the call.

(I love to hear your stories; please share in the comments below! If you’re reading this via RSS or in an email, click here.)




A big bubble gift for many strangers.

Hey. This Sunday, April 2, at 11:11am, I’m hosting a Bubble Flash Mob at Dolores Park in San Francisco, near the Children’s Playground. If you live nearby, please c’mon over and join the fun.

BYOB. (Bring Your Own Bubbles!)

The lovely Andrea Scher of Superhero Life will be co-hosting the party with me.

And my beau, Ian, will be making cow-sized bubbles! (He’s very generous and will let anyone who wants to, try a hand a big big bubble making!)

If you don’t live near me, consider buying a few bottles of bubble solution, heading over to your local children’s playground, and joining in the fun with us at whatever time 11:11am PT is for you.

Gift a few people with bubbles and invite them to your own Bubble Flash Mob. Seriously, even if there are two of you, I promise you it will bring a sparkle of delight to anyone around.

Bubble Flash Mobs are such inexpensive ways to gift a whole bunch of strangers with a whole lot of magic.

Try it.

Let me know.

Post photos below!

I’ll share mine with you next week.



Do you remember a couple weeks ago when I told you about my mom and how she always sends me boxes of books and what a great gift that is? (“Reason #4353 Why I Love My Mom!”)

Well, when my mom read that Simply Celebrate email, (because she always reads my emails, which makes me feel so loved, which makes that another gift, but that’s not the point right now), she immediately wrote to me and said, “We owe all this book lovin’ stuff to Sister Ida.”

Apparently Sister Ida was the person who encouraged my mom to read. Sister Ida was a nun at the school mom attended in Mount Vernon, Ohio. My mom remembers this sister saying to her, “Always carry a book. Read a book a week.”

My whole life I remember my mom saying, “You’ll never be bored as long as you have a book.” (See! That’s the quote on our l’il free library pictured above!) I’ve always carried a book with me wherever I go. And I’ve quoted my mom to my son countless times, ever since he was a baby. Now, my son is not only an avid reader, he is in the writing program at the School of the Arts here in San Francisco.

Suddenly, through my mom’s emails, I’m learning that all of us owe our love of literature to Sister Ida!



This is her!

Here’s the person who left the Belul clan a legacy of literary leanings.

Thank you, Sister Ida!





So you may be tapping your foot right now and saying, “C’mon, c’mon … where’s the gift idea you promised us?”


It’s this:

An idea dropped in when my mom was telling me Sister Ida stories. (She kept sending me emails with little snippets, like how she was the teacher’s pet so she got to drive the nuns around on the errands. “They were wearing full nun gear and had huge wooden rosary beads around their waists.” My mom also said she got to go to the convent and she would snoop around, “wanting to find out things like whether the nuns wear regular pajamas!”)

The idea I got was that I would write to my mom’s childhood parish to see if they had a photo of Sister Ida and then I would make a personalized bookmark with Sister Ida’s quote, “Always carry a book.”

Since my mom reads every day, I thought it’d be fun for her to have a bookmark to remind her of both Sister Ida and me!

It took some legwork, but I did finally track down the photo I posted above. And with a search on Etsy, I found someone who makes custom bookmarks.



For just $5 plus postage … I sent this to my mom, along with the backside message:



My mom loved it! And it started a whole new swarm of emails about Sister Ida. It was really fun to connect with my mom and hear her stories.
About a week later, I got another box in the mail, with some books from my mom. (And some candy!) If you missed it, the inspiration for my original post about my mom and books was a text from her that said, “A good book and a bag of candy is sometimes all it takes.”


Who can YOU send a personalized bookmark to?


If there is a book lover in your life who has inspired you, why not make ’em a custom bookmark? You can take a selfie of yourself peeking over an open book or use a favorite photo of you and the gift recipient.

It’s simple to upload your photo and type in some text for the front and back!

I’m not affiliated in any way with this Etsy seller. And I’m not responsible if you don’t like her bookmarks! I just wanted to share the resource I used to make it easy for you. (If you’re crafty, you can also just make your own bookmark!)

You can have the bookmark delivered directly to your fellow book lover. Or, have it sent to you so you can package the bookmark with a favorite current book and maybe some fancy tea to sip along while they read. What a great gift!


What legacy are you unknowingly leaving?


Thanks to my mom for inspiring this. (Hi mom!) And thanks Sister Ida for inspiring my mom. And thanks to whomever inspired Sister Ida to read!

We truly don’t know the legacy we leave behind. Sister Ida passed away in 1970, when I was just six years old. She couldn’t have imagined there would be something called email newsletters and that she would be the honored subject of one forty-seven years after her death.

But here I am, expressing my gratitude to sweet Sister Ida, who may be responsible for the fact that not only do I love to read, but I also love writing.

Never underestimate who you are + the impact you have in the world!

Happy reading — and gifting — and leaving a legacy,


P.S. Oh! And my mom inspired me to send a bookmark to the person who helped me track down Sister Ida’s photo. Here’s what I sent to her. Isn’t that fun?


P.P.S. I’m rather wow’d by the thought that 47 years after her death, Sister Ida is right here with us in this community of celebrators. That her spirit is alive and thriving through that one single sentence — “Carry a book with you” — that she spoke back in the 1950’s. Think about all of the sentences you’ve spoken in your life. Now imagine that one random sentence was the one that impacted someone’s life to the degree that this one has transformed my mom. And me. And my son. You just never know the ripple effects of your life! 


You may have read my March 6 post inviting folks to honor the lovely, whimsical, generous-hearted, inspiring author Amy Krouse Rosenthal by participating in an event called Plant a Kiss.

To join in, people just needed to commit to offering some kindness to the world between March 7 and March 16. and then share their story of that kindness on March 17. (That’s today!)

Some of you who have been hanging around me for many years, may remember similar events back in 2012 and 2013.

What makes this one different is that Amy was in the dying process as we were planting our kisses.

She passed away on Monday, March 13.



If you don’t know Amy’s work, please watch this Beckoning of Lovely video. Listen to Amy read from the book Plant a Kiss + watch the book come to life through Peter Reynold’s colorful illustrations. Enjoy Amy’s conversation with Andrea Scher. And finally, read this Modern Love essay, “You May Want to Marry My Husband.”

The planet lost a bright beacon of light. But Amy’s irresistible love for life and joyful spirit will live on through the large body of work she left us. It also lives on in the hearts of everyone who loved her.

This week, more than 100 of us celebrated Amy with our Plant a Kiss acts of Kindness. You can see links to many of the stories by visiting the official Plant a Kiss Kindness Project web page.

Keep reading to hear my own Plant a Kiss story …


I want to tell you three stories about how Plant a Kiss Day 2017 brought kindness into my life as I was offering it.


Small acts with big heart 

After my previous blog post, I received a number of beautiful and uplifting emails from people telling me that they had taken to heart my suggestions for offering kindness on Amy’s behalf. Each time I opened an email or someone posted online, my heart lifted with joy.

I want to thank everyone who donated books to Project Night Night or who wrote a Love List for someone with cancer who needed a boost. I also want to thank everyone who offered other acts of kindness in Amy’s name.

One of my favorite emails was from Linda in Soquel, Ca, who told me she ordered copies of Plant a Kiss to donate to Project Night Night. What I loved most was the note Linda included to me. She said, ” I know two books may not be a lot, but it is the small kindnesses of many that make a real difference.”

Linda added, “We each don’t have to change the world. Just add some kindness.  Maybe we change our little corner of the world.  You probably know the quote by Mother Theresa, ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.’  And, just maybe, those ARE the great things, after all.”

Doesn’t that just sum it up?



Circle of Giving

My second story comes with permission of Lelle in Australia. Lelle raised her hand when I offered a free Love List Making tele-session to coach someone through making a Love List for a loved one with cancer. During our 30-minute conversation, Lelle revealed 21 things she loves about her friend Birny.

I formatted the list, added some photos, and sent Lelle a beautiful PDF she could print out and give to Birny to remind him of the good things he has brought into her life via their friendship.

This Love List was a gift for Birny. But it was a huge gift to me, too. Getting to spend the time on the phone basking in Lelle’s stories of loving moments and stories of friendship was such a treat. And I do believe it was a gift for Lelle, too. She said, “This was wonderful. The process opened my heart.”



Ripple Effects 

My favorite kindness has been hosting and gathering the beautiful community of Plant-a-Kissers. More than 100 people joined the Facebook group and committed to offering kindness in honor of Amy.

Any time I would start to feel sad at her passing, I would pop into this group and think about all the love that is alive in her name.

Yes, it was a deep honor and joy to host the Plant a Kiss events as book promotions for Amy and Peter back in 2012 and 2013. But this year’s event — organizing kisses of kindness to celebrate Amy’s life — has brought me a deep sense of connection to kindred spirits from all over the world.

It has reminded me that one of the best ways to “make the most of our time here” is to connect with others, through kind, joyful, and generous acts.

Thank you for bringing us together in love, Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

I hope you will read the stories. Click here for the Plant a Kiss 2017 links. Keep checking back throughout the day on March 17 as new stories will be added all day long.


A few days ago I found out that the author and joyous liver-of-life, Amy Krouse Rosenthal has terminal cancer and not long to live.

Amy published a heartbreaking and beautiful piece in the New York Times Modern Love column titled, “You May Want to Marry my Husband,” which is a loving tribute to him in the form of a dating profile. It’s hard to read without weeping, but read it, please.

Amy is author of “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life,” “Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal,” “Plant a Kiss,” and more.

Those of you who have been following me and Simply Celebrate for a long time may remember that in 2012 and 2013 I hosted Plant a Kiss Days in honor of Amy. Women bloggers planned a variety of kind acts in the world and then shared their stories on April 29, Amy’s birthday.

We are reviving Plant a Kiss this week in order to send Amy love and light by offering the world kind acts.

Will you join us?


How you can participate:

Commit to sending a Love List to someone with cancer or to a caregiver of someone with cancer the week of March 7-14 in honor of Amy. 

Or, choose a kind act of your own:

  • Donate “Plant a Kiss” to Project Night Night or a children’s charity.
  • Pick up trash in your neighborhood park.
  • Hand out flowers on the street to strangers.
  • Hide art for people to find.
  • Visit someone in a nursing home.
  • Cook dinner for someone who is lonely or ill.
  • Fill in the blank with your own kindness idea: __________!


Tell me about it. 
Will you email me to tell me you are committing to this?




One more important thing:
My own Plant a Kiss Day kindness is that am offering three free Love List Creation Sessions to people who want to create a Love List for someone with cancer or a cancer caregiver.

I talk to you on the phone for 30 minutes to brainstorm your Love List items and promise you at least ten to twenty items for your list. I will then send a PDF you can print for your friend or loved one.

I love doing these Love List coaching + creation calls. I’ll give the sessions to the first three people who email me and tell me for whom they want to create the list.

In love + kindness,

Plant a Kiss art is copyright Amy Krouse Rosenthal and HarperCollins Publishing. 

Reason #4353 why I love my mom

I keep ongoing audio recordings of reasons why I love people in my life.

Here’s what I recorded today: Reason #4353 why I love my mom: I just got a text from her that says, “A good book and a bag of candy is sometimes all it takes.”

Doesn’t that quote just tell you so much about my mom?

(In all transparency, I don’t know if that was actually #4353. I just make up the numbers according to what feels right on any given day.)

But here’s what I really want to say about this. My mom always sends me books she loves after she finishes them. This is the BEST gift. First of all, I love to read and good books just show up all the time in the mail from her.

Second of all, it is fun to get real mail.

Third of all, it connects me to her because then we can talk about the books we’ve read!

Fourth of all, once I finish the books, I can donate them to our Little Free Library.

Last, but not least, she does, in fact, often send candy along in the boxes of books!

Thus, that text I mentioned came after I had written to tell her that I had just finished one of the latest books she sent. (I think I was thanking her for “A Man Called Ove” by Frederick Backman— a great novel about the power of community.)

Our text exchange made me stop and truly appreciate how much my mom’s thoughtfulness means to me. I don’t want to take it for granted. She’s been sending books to me for as long as I can remember. It is simply part of the fabric of my life.

And in fact, when I was little, my mom always encouraged me to read. This was really important to her since she grew up in a household without books.

Check out the tribute quote for her that we put on the little free library outside our house:

So listen. If you are a reader and you happen to buy your books — used or new — ask yourself whether there someone in your life to whom you can send your finished books.

Maybe you have a sister, nephew, or best friend who would love to be connected to you in the way I am to my mum?

Passing along your literary treasures is an amazing ongoing gift.

And sure, throw in a bag of chocolate kisses once in awhile, too! Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Happy reading,


P.S. Check out A Man Called Ovo if you haven’t read it. You can borrow it from your local library. Or maybe you’ll find it at a Little Free Library!


Do you know someone who has a troubled heart this Valentine’s Day?

It could be someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one through death, divorce, or break-up.

It might be someone who has lost their job or is struggling with global or political issues that have left them stressed or fearful.

Or, maybe you know someone who is depressed or overwhelmed?

What if you used Valentine’s Day as a reminder to reach out and put love in action?



What to do for someone with a troubled heart?
I just published an article on Huffington Post with some ideas of gifts for people with troubled hearts. Please read, comment, and share. And choose one thing on the list to do for someone in your life who needs a love boost.

I also just posted the replay of our wonderfully fun workshop last week during which my dear friends from The Creativity Caravan helped participants come up with ten amazingly creative and specific prompts to write a Love List. Sit down with a piece of paper, think about someone with a troubled heart, and create your Love List on he spot with this audio workshop. (You don’t have to opt in and we’re not selling anything — it’s just part of my mission to help spread pinpricks of light!)



A balm for future hurting hearts?
I want to spend a few minutes on something that isn’t very popular to talk about, but which is something that is one of the greatest gifts we can give people we love: planning for our death. To me, planning our death is the last gift we can give people. And it is one that can help soothe and heal traumatized and grieving hearts.

I’ve had that awful experience of someone I love dying and there’s nothing in writing anywhere about how they want to be buried or what kind of service they want or even how to contact their friends or find their financial accounts. It can be so awful to try to figure all of that out while also grieving.

So last fall I took a class my friend Jane was offering and I created a binder that has everything in one place. People I love know to grab that if I die. It has my will + health forms + friend contacts + funeral wishes. I am still updating it and adding things like social media legacy wishes + where to find important stuff. Doing this is not morbid at all. It feels so loving!

And the crazy thing is — those of us in Jane’s class really had FUN. We laughed a lot. We also supported each other through some hard questions. Jane brings a lovely warmth + ease + compassion to this essential planning process.

For me, remembering I am going to die helps me be here NOW. It helps me get clear on what is important to me and what legacy I want to leave. Others in the class expressed the same thing.

I got Jane on the phone after the class was over so we could talk about ways in which the class impacted me and transformed my life. If you have 15 minutes, I’d love for you to listen. This conversation may change the way you think about death.

If this topic interests you, you can also attend a free online talk Jane is offering on February 13th at 11am PT/2pmET called 5 Things to Do Right Now To Save Your Loved Ones Headache and Heartache After You Die.”



What if you’re the one whose heart is troubled?
If you’re having a hard time, be sure to reach out to someone you love and ask for what you need. My spiritual teacher, Cheri Huber, always says, “Don’t let the voices get you alone in the dark.” What she means is that the voices in our head can be very cruel. They often kick us when we’re down. They tell us we don’t deserve love or that we can’t reach out because we’ll be a dark cloud. Don’t listen to any of that rubbish!

It can be such a gift when someone opens up to us and invites us to express our compassion and love. Let yourself receive whatever good things are available; you deserve it.

Here’s to love of all shapes and sizes,


P.S. If your own heart is troubled or if you just need a sense of connection, listen to this short audio I created. It contains one of my favorite lines of poetry ever: “You do not have to be good.”






Just Plane Celebration

I just stumbled across a note to remind myself that I want to tell you about a wonderful experience I had on Southwest Airlines last fall.

You’re gonna love this!

I was on a flight from San Francisco to San Diego and right before the airline attendants started to pass out our drinks, they announced this: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a special couple on the flight today who are getting married tomorrow. To help them celebrate, we’d love for each of you to write some wedding advice or a wish to them!”

When we were given our coffee, tea, and whatnot, we also were each given an extra napkin to write our advice or wish upon.

How fun is that?

I asked my seatmate if she would share what she wrote and she showed me her napkin — which read, “I wish you a lifetime of happiness. Be sure to try new things together and create new memories!” I could hear others around me asking one another what they wrote. Our whole little airplane community was abuzz with love.


Can you guess my advice?







{Right here’s a photo of the front of my napkin wish gift.}

My advice was for them to each make a list of 10-100 things they love about the other. On the back side of the napkin I continued, saying that these Love Lists were wonderful to pull out whenever they might feel upset, angry, or frustrated with one another. They could simply read their lists to each other and remember all the love and joy they felt on the eve of their wedding day!

I really had to squeeze that all in so there was also room for a wee wish: “May you always be blessed with the kindness of strangers!”

It was so much fun to “make a gift” for two total strangers!

After everyone wrote their advice/wishes, the flight attendants collected them and gave them to the bride and groom. THEN, to top it off, the Southwest crew made the bride and groom crowns out of snack bags and coffee stir sticks. It was absolutely delightful! (You can see the couple in their crowns in the photo at the top of the page. They let me take a photo when we were in baggage claim after the plane landed.)

I want to give a shout out to Southwest Airlines for thinking of something celebratory to do right there on the spot. (Flight Attendant Ashley, if you’re reading this, I send you a special hug for masterminding this spontaneous and loving gift!)

I bet that couple will remember their Southwest wedding send-off for the rest of their lives. And you know what, it’s likely that many of us who got to participate will always remember this, too.

It just goes to show that great gifts don’t have to cost a lot. They just have to mean a lot.

Got napkins and snack bags?

Now, time to write a letter to Southwest Airlines and thank them for all this joy!

Happy trails to you— by land or air or sea,




P.S. If you’re trying to think of a wedding gift for friends or family, think about how you could use this idea from my Southwest Airlines flight and transform it to fit the style of the bride and groom you want to celebrate. Perhaps collect wedding wishes or advice on postcards that their friends and family send from wherever they live? Maybe have each person send a photo and on the back they could write a wish? Perhaps each person could draw something, with a wish on the back? I bet if you think about it, you can come up with something unique. Write and tell me, okay?!







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