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Renew your brain with deep, restful sleep

We don’t need a PhD to tell us that a good night of deep, restful sleep enables us to wake up feeling happy, alert and clear headed. This month, I’m polishing up my bed time routine to ensure more deep, restful sleep by adding a few new things:

  1. Diffusing lavender essential oil in my bedroom about 30 minutes before bed
  2. Taking a page from the practice of Ayurveda, gently rubbing sesame oil (I use refined sesame oil which has little fragrance.) into the bottoms of my feet just as I get into bed. I’ll be sure to wear socks to keep the oil off of the sheets.
  3. Clearing my mind of the worries and the ever-present “to-do” list by taking a few deep breaths and slowly repeating the mantra “The day is done. It is time to rest.”

With these simple steps, my brain should have just what it needs to wash itself clean of toxins, repair itself and prepare for a new day of work, play and of course…time with friends!

A Prayer for Friendship

On the world day of prayer, I will recite this prayer and remember once again that the true banquet in life takes place when we, of different ages, perspectives, life experiences, cultures, races and traditions come together.

It is then that our lives are truly enriched.


A Prayer For Friendship

By Chris Mabon


Thank you, God for the grace to be a friend to myself and others.

Thank you

for the strength to be a source of encouragement,

for the capacity to learn and share new concepts and the desire to stay engaged and knowledgeable in the ever- changing world,

for the fortitude to be a dependable anchor when the storms of life come,

for the wisdom to know what is true and the courage to share that truth,

and for a young, joyful heart that embraces with childlike wonder, the beauty, bounty and pleasure of life with friends.

As I reach out to give friendship, I also receive friendship

and my life is enriched.


Afternoon tea

Tea is the world’s most consumed beverage (not counting water). British culture is one that takes tea seriously. English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic, George Orwell even wrote an essay entitled “A nice cup of tea”, in which he outlined his own eleven rules for tea. Now, that sounds serious to me!

If you’ve ever wondered how to make a proper cup of tea (at least from the British perspective), enjoy this short video that shows we friends living across the pond how it’s done.



Renew your appreciation for the simple pleasures in life.

It’s known as the Nordic secret to happiness and its basic elements include spending time outdoors (yes, even in the Nordic winter!), remaining active, keeping food simple and nourishing, being kind to yourself, being sociable and spending time with loved ones.

Signe Johansen, author of How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life, writes “A life of hygge requires kindness: to ourselves in the everyday acts that bring contentedness and pleasure, and kindness to others in spirit of kinship and conviviality.”

I plan to incorporate more hygge into my life and this “month for love” feels like the perfect time to start. On the list: I’ll stop hiding from the cold, bundle up and get outdoors more often, open the scented bath salts I got for Christmas and soak in a hot tub, keep candles burning, mix up a pot of hot chocolate and invite a few friends over for a game night. Already, the grey February Pittsburgh skies seem brighter.

Learning about hygge has renewed my commitment to savor the simple pleasures in life. What do I hope to achieve? A deeper sense of contentment, coziness and a sense of well- being. Now that feels like love to me.


Thai Massage

But I’ve wanted to add something more, something different to the gym routine. Thankfully, a friend told me about Thai massage. I’d never heard of it before, but she told me it was sort of like having yoga done to you. That sounded different to me, so I scheduled an appointment and boy, am I glad I did!

It was nothing like the massages I’ve had in the past. There are no oils and no heated tables. I was fully clothed, lying on a floor mat as the therapist stretched and moved my body in every way possible for 90 minutes. All tension and stress melted away and I felt rejuvenated. This may not be for every one, but it was exactly what I was looking for. My friend was right, it was like having yoga done to me and it left me with the same blissful, revitalized feeling as a yoga class.

As I left the facility, a broad smile would not leave my face. My body felt lighter and more limber from the stretching. My mind was in a quiet, peaceful state from the relaxation and as a result, my spirit felt revitalized. Even sitting for 30 minutes in a long line of traffic on the parkway could not steal my happiness. All this from Thai massage? Yep!

The blissful feeling lasted for a few days. It was one of the most loving, nurturing gifts I could have given myself. Has another appointment been scheduled? You’d better believe it!

A Day Worthwhile

When I opened my P. O. Box the day after Christmas, I was delighted to find an envelope from Francis. It contained a copy of the poem, A Day Worthwhile. 

This poem revitalizes my desire to be of service to others whenever I can and it reminds me that each day I do good for another is a day wisely spent. In this new year, I plan on making all my days worthwhile. Thank you, Francis for this special gift!


A Day Worthwhile

I count that day as wisely spent

In which I do some good

For someone who is far away

Or shares my neighborhood.


A day devoted to the deed

That lends a helping hand

And demonstrates a willingness

To care and understand.


I long to be of usefulness

In little ways and large

Without a selfish motive

And without the slightest charge.


Because in my philosophy

There never is a doubt

That all of us here on earth

Must help each other out.

I feel that day is fruitful

And the time is worth the while

When I promote the happiness

Of one enduring smile.

– Author unknown