Serendipity – I have always found this word very intriguing and exciting.

When I lived in New York City many years ago, there was a lovely ice cream parlor called Serendipity – and I always thought it the perfect name for all the especially delicious delights inside.

So I was curious to find out more about this word – which surprisingly one does not hear used that often.

The meaning I found is quite lovely.  Serendipity (n) finding something beautiful without looking for it.

And that’s what happened for me and Dick and Tootsie on a Sunday evening walk at the river.

We weren’t expecting a serendipity moment for sure.  Actually we were both feeling lazy and over-stuffed and were hoping a walk would clear our heads.

We didn’t realize it would open our hearts.

We met a young woman – alone in a motorized wheel chair – who called out to say hi to Tootsie. And that was the beginning of a warm and lively conversation and connection with this courageous and positive person

She thanked us profusely for stopping and talking with her. I don’t think it happens often.

But little did she know, that was a serendipity moment for us – finding something beautiful without looking for it – or maybe even thinking –  without expecting it.

So keep an eye out – for your personal serendipity moments -“finding something beautiful without looking for it.”



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a “pack”

It’s a long story – too long for this blog – but such a sweet one that our daughter told us about a young, shy deaf dog who was slowly introduced to those in her life besides her owners, who came to recognize and appreciate her “pack” and, then, their eventual frequent “pack walks” together.

And since hearing this story, I’ve been thinking and thinking about that expression – her “pack“.

And it seems so reassuring to consider – a group of people (or dogs and people) who come together – who share with each other – who are supportive to each other.

A “pack” – where you feel comfortable and accepted.

So … call me crazy – but I like to think of The Parenting Place Play Shoppe as a “pack” – where people come and meet and play and grow and share – and the children sense this caring and  know they are a part of this integral group.

See what I mean?

So now when I think of this young pup frolicking together on his “pack walk”, I also believe we have our own “pack play” right here at The Parenting Place.

And we hope you come and join us!

Go Pack!  ( Oops – now I guess that’s another whole story!)

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a meditation

I just got the urge the other day to iron.

Maybe it’s because I’ve stared at a small group of clean clothes that have “lived” in their own special “need to be ironed “ pile for some time.

So I did it.  I set up my ironing board, filled my steam iron with water – put the dial on cotton – and began.

And now I’m convinced.

No wonder – my mom with six children under foot – managed to seem so relaxed while she ironed a laundry basket full to the brim of 100% cotton items.

I remember so well the scent of the fresh clothes brought in from hanging outside, the slow focused movements my mom made as she arranged the items on the ironing board and pressed down on the disappearing winkles, the sizzle of the hot iron on the damp clothes (my mom always “sprinkled” the clothes first ) and my mom’s eyes that looked to be so soft, so lost in thought, so peaceful.

And as a young child I remember feeling peaceful too.  It was as if these moments flooded our normally noisy and busy household with a sense of harmony and contentment.

And on Saturday, I felt this myself as I peacefully ironed my small batch of grateful items – and realized – of course – this was my mom’s yoga, her meditation, her massage -therapy, her peaceful moment.

And, as children, it became ours too – as it seemed to envelope our home with a sense of warmth, coziness, and trust that all was right and good.

Ironing I know is becoming a lost art.  But if you have the chance or I guess the need to iron out some wrinkles – in your laundry items – in your “life”- try it.

A working meditation of the heart – of the wrinkles in your life.


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Labor Day

I’m personally glad that Labor Day comes so soon after The Parenting Place Children’s Festival.  That’s like bestowing a much needed rest and holiday after the work and effort put forth by all The Parenting Place staff on the day before and day of the festival.

Someone asked me at the Festival last weekend ‘who are all these people working at the festival wearing red aprons?”.

I proudly informed him that they are almost all staff from The Parenting Place – reporting for duty – spirits and energy high!

It’s significant to have a day set aside to recognize and celebrate workers.  But sort of unfair that on Labor Day, so many people still need to work

So for all the people who necessarily are working on the Day that celebrates them, take notice and give them a special thank you and smile – those in their workplace wherever that is – hospitals, the home,  in the air,  at sea -rescue workers everywhere,  we appreciate you and thank you.

Happy Labor Day!



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school days

This is the week, folks –  if you haven’t already begun – to start your family’s school readiness.

You know – like adjusting bedtimes, and looking at morning routines.

It’s never an easy transition – from the lazier days of summer to up -and- at- ’em- school days – but gently laying the groundwork this week will show you where the glitches are that need to be considered.

It’s different for every family – and even within each family – for parents as well as for children.

What I hear most often is: No.1- being too tired in the morning (for both child and adult), dawdling, daydreaming, refusing to eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, put shoes on (find shoes!) anxiety about separating, a new school, a new teacher, melt-downs in general.

And, I have to say, in my experience, the antidote for most of these behaviors comes back to a well-rested child and also a well-informed child – who understands the routine, what’s going to happen , has heard the story gently told –  their personal  family’s story –  more than once – of how things will be, and what to expect.

This sharing, this unhurried emotional connection between parents and children – along with precious sleep – will go a very long way toward a smooth and positive and confident start to the school year.

If you have any questions as to how to go about sharing your start-to-school story with your children, give me a call at The Parenting Place or send me an e-mail. 

Parents – you’re invited to  join us on Tuesday, September 4th at The Parenting Place for The 2nd Annual Back to School Morning  from 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM for coffee, treats, door prizes, conversation, support. Younger children are welcomed as well.

Drop in, text your friends – join each other – celebrate a new milestone – together – an important day to share!

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Doctor’s orders

The end of August – is it just me – or do you just know it without even checking the calendar?

There’s a certain feel in the air – a certain readiness for change – to step back into the structure and routine that lies ahead  – that Fall brings.

But – hold on – wait just a minute – it’s also that special time of year when The Parenting Place puts on their annual Children’s Festivalwhere play happens  – at Myrick Park, Saturday, August 25th from 9 am to 12 pm.

And to top it off this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics just today published a new clinical report on the significance of play in children’s lives – so much so that the report recommends doctors actually write a prescription for play.

Well … as I said – Doctor’s orders!

And we can easily take care of that prescription for you at The Children’s Festival –  where play happens – where children make play happen – in their own way.

How about starting off with a  9:00 am- sharp- dumping- of -the- dirt from the dump truck, to the mud kitchen where “mud is the flavor of the day” to the construction site, the farmyard, the campsite, water play galore, the art factory, sensory walk, painting,, cars and ramps, pretend play in “the Village:  the Veterinary hospital, the Pizza Shop, the Flower Shop, the Bakery and the Library, Dinosaur Island, The Adventure Playground and so much more.

This Festival, this prescription for your child’s well-being, speaks to the essense of childhood, of real hands-on play – and it catches the well-being, the imagination and joy of all who come.

Hope to see you there!

The Children’s Festival, August 25 from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM at Myrick Park, rain or shine.  Tickets are available at The Parenting Place and People’s Food Coop – $4.00 a button,  3 for $10.  $5.00  the day of; babies under 1 year free. Scholarship buttons are available.  Call  The Parenting Place – 784-8125 to request. All proceeds go toward The Parenting Place free Parent Education programs.


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There’s something about a touch on the shoulder – there’s something about hearing one’s name said – there’s something about waiting for that person to look up – and there’s really something to be said for being heard.

Who hasn’t tried yelling from the kitchen – “time to pick up your toys”.  Who hasn’t checked their emails or face book while telling your child from across the room that it’s time to get ready for bed – or “stop teasing your sister.

And who hasn’t thought “My child never listens to me.”

Of course the other side of this coin is – do we listen to our children – with our eyes and ears and response?

So can we change things?

Well – actually pretty easily,  if we’re ready and willing.

We can start by being aware, being open, being responsive when we talk to our child and by limiting our personal distractions during those busy kids’ times.

You’ll see the change I bet  – you’ll probably think, well that did make a pretty big difference.

And I’m sure your child will feel the difference too.

It’s called connection.

It works.

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