Thursday, May 31, 2018

Summertime BLUE

"Everything good, everything magical happens 
between the months of June and August." 
~Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty


Michigan BLUE, Summer 2018 Issue


Celebrating our favorite season in the Great Lakes State, the June issue of Michigan BLUE is now in print. Whether you’re planning a weekend road trip or spending an afternoon in your favorite lawn chair, there's plenty of inspiration in this issue. In addition to a gorgeous photo story on stargazing by Howard Meyerson and a piece on national wildlife refuges by Leslie Mertz, you'll find an essay I wrote on the art of collecting beach stones — one of my favorite summer pastimes. I’m always proud to have my work published in this beautiful magazine. ~Cindy La Ferle  


UPDATE ... Look for Michigan BLUE on newsstands and in bookstores, including Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble, throughout Michigan. I've seen copies at Walgreens, too.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Getting real about social media

“It amazes me that we're all still on Twitter and Facebook. 
By 'we,' I mean adults. But emotionally we're a culture of seven-year-olds. 
Have you ever had that moment when you're updating your status and realize that every update is just a variation on a single request: 
Would someone please acknowledge me? 


"What do I have to do to get a little attention?"

Garden art at Flagler House & Museum, Palm Beach / Cindy La Ferle


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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Review: Public typewriters and indy bookstores

"Maybe one day we will write enough books 
and read enough words 
to understand each other. 
I hope." 

~Notes from a Public Typewriter, 
Edited by Michale Gustafson and Oliver Uberti

My vintage Royal / Cindy La Ferle

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My son has a knack for buying perfect gifts. During a recent visit to Ann Arbor, Nate surprised me with a copy of Notes from a Public Typewriter, a delightful compilation of messages composed on the public typewriter at Literati Bookstore

Since 2013, customers at the indy bookstore in Ann Arbor have been sharing their hopes and dreams -- almost always anonymously -- on a typewriter left for their use on a table. From hilarious to heartbreaking, the messages include love notes, haikus, philosophical ramblings, random observations, and confessions. Laced throughout the book are co-owner Michael Gustafson's short essays on how the typed messages have impacted Literati visitors -- and even changed lives. Many will touch your heart.

Not surprisingly, the book is earning national attention and was featured on NPR. If you enjoy manual typewriters and sweet stories about words bringing people together, you'll appreciate this little book as much as I do. ~Cindy La Ferle

  

Monday, May 28, 2018

Remembering

"When our perils are past, 
shall our gratitude sleep?" 
~George Canning

Memorial Day weekend at Bay Harbor Resort, Petoskey / Cindy La Ferle

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Going places

"Visit environments that expand your mind. 
Spend time with people who inspire you. 
Read books. Grow. Get better. 
Your life is your choice." 

At the Bay Lavender Co., Glen Arbor / Cindy La Ferle

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I'm a longtime fan of Marc & Angel Hack Life. Whether I've been dealing with a chronic illness or grief and loss, the wisdom of Marc and Angel Chernoff has guided me through some rough days and given me the emotional tools to move past my own obstacles. (You've probably noticed that I quote them often here.) So I was thrilled to learn that they've just published a new book -- which is earning national attention and rave reviews. If you're looking for life-changing advice, Getting Back to Happy, should be at the top of your summer reading list. ~Cindy La Ferle

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Keeping it simple

"Our life is frittered away by detail .... 
Simplify, simplify!" 

~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Cindy La Ferle

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

True listening

"When you are a true listener, 
you will hear all the important things 
not being said." 
~Jeffrey Benjamin

Cindy La Ferle


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Sometimes it's what we don't say that speaks volumes. Not speaking up, not reaching out, not making a point, not opening up, not sharing our thoughts, not paying a compliment, not answering a question ... All of these reveal a lot about us. 

Whatever we're unwilling to discuss in a particular relationship also defines or sets a boundary around that relationship. I once had a friend who was uncomfortable with self-disclosure and kept her private life to herself -- yet she wanted to know everything about me. Needless to add, that friendship was built on an uneven foundation and it didn't last.

In some circumstances, of course, silence is healthy and appropriate. In our social-media-obsessed culture of "over-sharing," there's something downright classy about knowing when to keep things to yourself. 

But there are times when silence erodes a relationship more than cruel words. Listening carefully, we discern the truth in what goes unsaid. ~Cindy La Ferle

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Baby animals

"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in 
humble places where other people see nothing." 
~Camille Pissarro

Adorable piglet in Clawson Park / Cindy La Ferle



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Monday, May 21, 2018

Planning a garden

"Look closely at the present you are constructing. 
It should look like the future you are dreaming." 
~Alice Walker


Getting the garden started / Cindy La Ferle

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Harry and Meghan

"Once in a while, right in the middle of 
ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale." 
~Attribution unknown


Image from the Wall Street Journal


If ever we needed a fairy tale escape, we needed one this week. The marriage of Harry and Meghan took us all to a magical place where love, diversity, grace, and the power of positive transformation were celebrated in ways we haven't seen before -- at least not in our own country.

Though I've always been an Anglophile (it's in my blood), I've never been obsessed with royal weddings. But this time around, I can't get enough of the ceremonial recaps on television. Thank you, Meghan and Harry, for renewing my sense of hope and showing the world what joy looks like again.  ~Cindy La Ferle 

UPDATE: After reading this post, a blog follower sent me this excellent opinion piece, written by a pastor.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The truth

"Some things are true no matter how hard you might try to block them out, and a lie is always a lie, no matter how prettily told. Some doors, once they're opened, can never be closed again, just as trust, once lost, can never be won back."  ~Alice Hoffman

Cindy La Ferle

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Everyday kindness


"Being kind and considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree." 

~Marian Wright Edelman


Cindy La Ferle

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It's not just me. Everyone's mourning the loss of kindness and civility. Within the past couple of years, especially, there's been a remarkable increase in thoughtless behavior and cruel comments -- a general lack of respect that erodes our very souls. It starts at the top with belligerent political leadership and filters down to the angry neighborhood jogger who knocks you over on the sidewalk and doesn't say, "Excuse me."


One friend calls it "The Era of Nasty" -- and we all wish it would end right now.

With that in mind, I've been making an effort to practice deliberate acts of kindness -- every day. I smile more at strangers and lend a hand when I see a need. When I catch people doing something wonderful, I tell them so. If I've received exceptional service at a local business or a restaurant, for instance, I express my appreciation verbally as well as with a generous tip. I might even send an email or a letter of gratitude to the manager.

Over time, the simplest lack of courtesy can wear out our personal relationships, too. 

If we take an honest inventory of how we treat our friends and family members -- the relationships we take for granted -- we're all guilty of falling short sometimes. How often do we neglect to respond to emails and texts, or call to check on a friend who's been ill? How often do we forget to reciprocate a favor? How often do we thank our kids or parents for the joy they give us? Or compliment our spouse when it's sorely needed? How often do we treat others the way we want to be treated?

Rude comments, incivility, road rage, and violence have become part of our new normal. Now, more than ever, kindness is a spirit-lifter. We can't change the graceless or insensitive behavior of others, but we can try to make a difference by spreading kindness to people within reach. Everything starts at home. ~Cindy La Ferle

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Being still

"There is great value in learning to wait through a transition time in life. It takes courage to sit in the mystery, to tell the truth about what no longer works without knowing what will. A new life cannot be willed into existence. 
Sometimes we are simply called to wait." 
~Cheryl Richardson


Glen Arbor beach treasure / Cindy La Ferle

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Letting it go

"There is a huge amount of freedom that comes 
to you when you take nothing personally." 
~Marc & Angel Hack Life

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids / Cindy La Ferle

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day

"Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, 
but their hearts forever." 
~Attribution unknown

With my son Nate on his wedding day, September 2012 


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sanctuary

"It is in the solitude and safety of my sanctuary garden that I have experienced the deepest sense of peace. Peace with my past, acceptance of the long years of loneliness I endured, and forgiveness of those who have hurt me -- perhaps without ever knowing. I have also learned to forgive my own failures. Nature is a patient teacher."  ~Tricia Clark-McDowell, The Sanctuary Garden

Day's end / Cindy La Ferle


Friday, May 11, 2018

Giving

"Many people look for someone who is going to make them feel good or help them get ahead. But the only way a relationship will last is if you see it as an opportunity for you to give, and not as an opportunity for you to take." 

~Anthony Robbins


Cindy La Ferle

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Waking up

"Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, 
even to suffer, rather than to remain 
a dupe to illusions all one's life." 
~Kate Chopin

Cindy La Ferle

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Savoring spring

"To pay attention, 
this is our endless and proper work."
~Mary Oliver

Our garden in May / Cindy La Ferle

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Inner peace

"We can never obtain peace in the outer world 
until we make peace with ourselves." 
~Dalai Lama

Cindy La Ferle

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Monday, May 7, 2018

Starting new chapters

"There comes a day when you realize 
that turning the page is the best feeling in the world, 
because there's so much more in the book 
than the page you're stuck on." 
~Zayn Malik



Morning light / Cindy La Ferle

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Sunday, May 6, 2018

Moments

"The butterfly counts 
not months but moments, 
and has time enough." 
~Rabindranath Tagore


Bayside Gallery in Suttons Bay / Cindy La Ferle

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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Local gems

"Let the beauty of 
what you love 
be what you do." 
~Rumi

Necklace by Brenda Barnes / Cindy La Ferle

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Shopping local is important to me, whether I'm purchasing household items or wearable art. 


My photo doesn't do it justice, but the necklace shown above is one of my new favorite things. Strung with freshwater pearls, luminous shells, glass beads and semi-precious stones, it was crafted by Troy artist Brenda Barnes. You won't find another one exactly like it -- but you'll find more jewelry by Brenda Barnes and other talented artists at the Detroit Institute of Arts museum shop where I purchased it. (If you need more incentive, DIA Museum members get a museum shop discount.) 

Just as Barnes suggested in this Detroit News article featuring her work, I often wear basic black tops or dresses to show off my collection of handcrafted necklaces. I love how each piece of artisan jewelry has a story to tell, reminding me of a special place I've visited or a memorable afternoon spent at a summer art fair. ~Cindy La Ferle


Thursday, May 3, 2018

People who make us laugh

"A smile is a curve 
that sets everything straight." 
~Phyllis Diller

At the Shrine Circus / Cindy La Ferle

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Keep calm, carry on

"So what is required of us at this roiling time? The political turbulence we're experiencing isn't going to go away, and what's important at such a time is to absorb the daily shocks, think long-term, speak your mind, share your heart, and do your best." ~Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal

Cindy La Ferle

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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May Day memories

"May, more than any other month of the year, 
wants us to feel most alive." 
~Fennel Hudson


Our magnolia in May / Cindy La Ferle

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May Day was one of Norma's favorite holidays. Continuing a tradition started by her mother, my dear friend would leave a basket of flowers, a beautiful plant, or a small present on the porch steps of her loved ones every year on the first day of May. 

While she intended to surprise us -- which was part of the annual tradition -- I recall at least one morning when I spotted Norma sneaking up to the doorstep with her May Day gift while her husband, George, waited patiently in the car. Every year, the surprise was different; but always given with love.

I still miss her. Norma was closer to my mother's age than mine when we first met at church nearly 25 years ago. Her warmth and caring, as well as her wisdom and guidance, supported me through some challenging times, including my two hip replacement surgeries and the onset of my mother's dementia. Every woman needs a role model like that.

Even when she was battling terminal cancer, Norma faced her own difficulties with grace and optimism. I believe she celebrated every day that she was given, and I see her spirit in every spring plant that's blooming today. ~Cindy La Ferle