For the first time in a long time, children dressed in costumes and shrieking “Trick or Treat” will clamor at the stoop of my house on October 31st. In California, we lived at the end of a long and dark street where no child ever ventured; over the course of the past sixteen years, I…

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Last week, I received many responses to my last newsletter essay, the one about losing the ones we love. Many people agreed that we all need to pay more attention to the way we try and help those we care about as they grieve.  This week, I find myself dealing with a strong sort of…

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When I was a child, my parents held out to me the example of an excellent and dedicated writer, my great-grandfather, Arthur Gray Staples. My mother, a Pulitzer-Prize winning poet herself, told me many stories of his life in Maine, in the early 1900’s, as the editor-in-chief of the Lewiston Evening Journal, which was considered…

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All of us have daily challenges, and sometimes tackling them can be demoralizing. We try so hard, whether it is in climbing out of bed to face a routine that bores us, or in trekking off every day to a demanding job. Or maybe it’s in maintaining our patience with our whiny or needy children—whom…

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Dogs will be dogs–and skunks will be skunks. One night two weeks ago, our family of black and white spotted Dalmatians introduced themselves to a family of black and white striped skunks, under the pine trees in our backyard. Not surprisingly, none of the six were interested in making friends with each other. After some…

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Last week in our backyard, Mac inhaled a foxtail and we spent a rocky day at the vet. For those of you who don’t know what a foxtail looks like, it is the very spiky tip of a weed–one that will work its way upward inside its host if sniffed or stepped on or should…

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So, it’s Thursday at 5:00 in the morning and I’m speeding along at eighty miles an hour, in the pitch black, to a burg called Vallejo, which is about an hour and a half from my house. I’m keeping watch in my rear view mirror for “CHIPies,” (California Highway Patrol), who will pull me over…

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Every time I see an ASPCA ad on television for an abused dog or cat about to be put to sleep, I start to cry. Sometimes I get upset enough that I shut the TV off. I don’t want to look at their faces–even though I know I should face their reality. I suppose I…

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A second chance is one of the most miraculous and elusive gifts we can give. But why is it so hard to forgive–not only the ways in which we let others down, but also the ways in which we disappoint ourselves? Over the past two years, there has been an aspect of my life in…

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Maya Angelou said it best: “When you get, give.” In the spirit of her sentiment I am running a contest to gift to you any one of my books, your choice. Gratitude for my readers was sparked not only from the recent holiday that embodies the emotion, but from my latest writing adventure as well.…

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