Gift books to those in need near Chicago with Bernie's Book Bank

“A House without books is like a room without windows,” said Henry Ward Beecher. Books help children dream and visualize a world of hope and promise. The most significant influence for early educational success is an introduction to reading at home, according to the National Commission on Reading. Grim statistics demonstrate that two-thirds of students... Read more »

Navigate your holidays with Washington's Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior

The integrity, etiquette, and discretion that guided General George Washington ring true today. The following highlights from the 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior may help you and yours avoid holiday drama. RESPECT Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present. In the Presence of Others... Read more »

How four Native American values may help our United States heal

Our United States of America struggles with divisiveness at the top of both major political parties. Regular new allegations reveal sexual harassment and discrimination from politicians, celebrities and business people. Each one of us faces personal challenges of different magnitudes. Thanks to our boys’ diverse school in Chicago, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Academy, we learned more about... Read more »
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History of Halloween, All Saints Day & All Souls Day

As a grade school student, I researched my family heritage. I learned Halloween dates back 2,000 years to pagan Irish traditions. The ancient Celtic festival of Samhain tried to scare ghosts with bonfires and scary costumes. The Celts lived in Ireland, Great Britain and Northern France. The Roman Empire eventually conquered most of the Celtic region. During... Read more »

Leverage routines for autopilot to improve performance

Leverage routines for autopilot to improve performance
Many adults self-identify as exhausted and busy. If you plan and practice simple routines, that may help conserve mental energy during mundane tasks. We try to pause and reflect for perspective. Lists help our family and professional teams function best — almost in autopilot for the recurring action items. We still need to review everything... Read more »

3 things to help inspire change post Las Vegas shooting

3 things to help inspire change post Las Vegas shooting
Many Americans feel sad and defeated in the wake of our country’s most deadly mass shooting in modern history on Sunday in Las Vegas. History such as our founding fathers reminds us of a better time. David Brooks wrote this week in anticipation of “somebody who has the guts to say no to tribe, yes... Read more »
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3 life lessons to embrace before turning 40

I dreaded turning 30. Almost a decade and many life lessons later, I embrace more humility, gratitude and perspective. As Julianne Moore says, aging is a privilege. Humility. While perfection is impossible, we may always learn more and do better. Our professional and family teams challenge us to stretch and grow.  We learn from people of... Read more »

6yo & 4yo kids write songs that surprise Mom of boys

Our resilient boys have taught me about cars, sports, superheroes and so much more. They naturally emulate their father, a talented vocalist. To my surprise, last weekend they wrote and performed their first songs at our friends’ home before dinner. Our six-year-old sang his song. “I climb the mountains for you. You don’t know me, but... Read more »

7 school parent association myths debunked

Do you roll your eyes at the idea of parent association volunteers? I have felt inadequate compared to some parent association leaders who seem to know everything. Thankfully, I now humbly listen and learn from them. Our own self-doubt may stand in the way of connecting with a community that helps our kids thrive. Most parent... Read more »
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Smiley faces in work emails undermine professionalism

Smiley faces in work emails undermine professionalism
Thanks to TheSkimm for flagging smiley face emojis “decrease perceptions of competence.” They link to more context from a recent Time magazine about this study with 549 people from 29 countries. Does that surprise you? It seems obvious. I cringe since I’m guilty of overusing the smiley face. They advise to avoid them in initial... Read more »