Change, Change, Change…Can we stop with all the changes?

Change, Change, Change…Can we stop with all the changes?

As I notice the full moon casting beautiful shadows onto the white blanket of snow I notice as each moment passes and the moon moves the shadows change continuously as they eventually disappear only to arrive again when the moon visits after the sun has faded. I love the quiet of the snow covered night, extra quiet, but this too will change as spring arrives and nature awakens once again. Yes every moment that passes, change happens. 

“The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”- Heraclitus

Shadow of change!

A year ago the world changed in ways none of us could imagine.  We needed to separate, we needed to care about others and we needed to find a way to be in the world that will forever be changed.  The pandemic has caused the world to shift, to think and to change. Every person has had to face changes in their lives, many of which were loss, loss of a person, loss of a job, loss of security, loss of routine and so on. 

What have you lost in the past year?  

I want to turn this question around and talk about what I have gained. I have gained a new perspective on the world and how I fit into it.  I have been reminded that each day we have together is a gift and that every moment spent sharing your story or your experience has a ripple effect through time. 

As you know from a past post Michael and I were the caregivers to my Aunt, from March to October of 2020. Being a caregiver warps time, and relationships.  I gained a new understanding of my Aunt and her life story and how her 89 years of life have formed the person she is today. She is my mom’s older sister which gave me new insights into my mom and a fresh understanding of my relationship to both of them. Spending time just being with my Aunt at times was the best! I spent many hours on the floor next to her bed while she was bed bound and eventually she was able to get out of bed and do more for herself and in an odd way I miss my time with her.  She is better and back on her own and I find myself just missing having someone else in our home to spend time with and talk with.  Both my mom and aunt live independently and the phone is not always the best way of having  a conversation.  I have truly treasured every story and every conversation I had with each of them over the past year.  

One surprising awareness I gained is that food is to fuel the body and not critical to social interaction. That may sound a little funny as it does to me as well, but growing up everytime we gathered with family it was with a “feast”.  When I grew up and had my own home whenever I would invite people over I believed (and I loved) I needed to make great food and feed whoever came over to visit.  Well with zoom, social distancing and not being comfortable going to restaurants I have discovered that I can get together with friends and not cook, or feed them and still feel the warmth and love of true friends.   Don’t get me wrong the minute I can hold another dinner party I will and I will create a stunning tablescape and amazing food but that is because I realized this is a creative outlet for me not because it is essential to socialize with friends but because I love it. 

By the way baby giggles are as amusing over video chat as in person, but I miss letting children wonder and just watch them explore a new place.  The video call is still very limiting and I miss smiling at children as I pass them and playing with the little ones in my life.  Michael and I have had a difficult time putting play time back into our lives and we hope to make that conscious change as well. 

I encourage you to reflect on the insights you have gained through this time of change and find ways of creating joy and positivity everyday for yourself and others.  It is truly a choice to frame the changes you experienced as positives or if not positive at least try and find a lesson or new understanding you gained because of the change.

Spring is around the corner and I know I am looking forward to the changes vaccinations will bring!

This blog was inspired by the Arapohoe Libraries September 9, 2020 post here is the link:,in%20control%20of%20our%20lives.

2021 Hope and New Beginnings!

With a new year for me comes the feeling of hope and new beginnings.  It feels like a fresh start, an opportunity to set new expectations, new goals and a new fresh way of being in the world.  This is a time many spend reflecting on the past year and setting their sights on the new. I would not suggest making any resolutions because most of those are gone before February is here, but setting intentions is great and renewable. 

So many of us talk about renewable energy, what is your renewable energy?  What energizes you, better yet what brings you joy?  I have been focusing on the little things that make me smile,  as there are many big things I cannot control.  Some of the little things which bring me joy are as simple as when my Facebook memories for the day come up and it is me playing outside with my niece. What little things make you smile? Have you been smiling more and more each day?  Sometimes through these difficult times you need to look for reasons to smile, it truly helps. 

Many years ago when I was going through 10 years of infertility treatment I experienced despair and swore I would never find my smile, joy or laughter ever again.   One of the 10 years I focused on holistic stress reduction. It was at the beginning of  Deepak Chopra’s work on mindfulness and fertility, they were running some workshops for couples in my local area so Michael and I signed up. One thing I learned has carried me through many difficult times. In the mindfulness program I was introduced to the work of Loretta LaRoche, who wrote the book Life is Not A Stress Rehearsal: Bring yesterday’s sane wisdom into today’s insane world. My biggest take away in my own words is that if you do not feel like laughing or you do not feel like smiling do it anyway.  Truly a fake smile and fake laugh will lead you to the real thing. Try it, you will find as you fake it, it becomes real and your entire body begins to change and all those good feelings begin to happen.  Many people have lost the innocent ability to smile, laugh and play with abandon, you know, like the toddler who spins and twirls until they make themselves dizzy with smiles and giggles.  Well I did not believe this until I tried it.  Now I try and remember to twirl, you know twirl in circles in my kitchen until I can’t help but smile, laugh and feel the joy. Follow me and try to remember to twirl for fun everyday! Here is a video of me twirling.

I hope you try it and let me know how it makes you feel. 

Bonus video of Loretta LaRoche on how laughter helps us all

Celebrations, Hope and Connection

December 2020 will be a month to remember.   It is my birthday month and I turn 55!  It is the second anniversary of my dad’s passing, it is the month so many faithful people around the world celebrate hope and light.  Ok, there are just people around the world celebrating the end of 2020 and the hope for 2021. Anyway, everything has been a little different this year so I decided to embrace the difference and we did that in November with our celebration of Thanksgiving and I hope this will inspire your celebrations.

About two weeks prior to Thanksgiving, Michael and I decided to get in the car and head to Long Island to do an early Thanksgiving celebration with my Aunt and Mom.  (We did isolate before we went to visit and both my Aunt and Mom are living on their own and taking precautions.) This was the first holiday where Michael did not have either of his parents.  We had our traditional dinner. Yes, a 19 lb. turkey for 4 people, yummy.   We went down early because covid was once again on the rise.   We were not sure what to do on the actual day as we were invited to be with friends, but we were just uncertain. 

On Thanksgiving day, the day we often visited with more than 10 people, instead it was just Michael and I for dinner. I love to bake. Many of my friends give me sweets and I love them so to make something different, Michael and I made homemade hummus and delivered it to three friends who reside in New Hampshire.  Yup we went savory, we were able to speak with them, masks on and distanced just briefly as our turkey cooked.  It was wonderful to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving in person and to tell them how grateful we are for them. 

Yes, we made a second 15 lb. turkey for the two of us, and the most special thing happened as I set our table and put out our food. Let me share a picture, so I can diagram all the people and special memories represented on the table. 

Our celebration table-scape.

Let me begin with the plates, they are from Sturbridge Pottery which my sister-in-law introduced us to; this brings my brother and his family to the table. The hand made wooden serving spoons created by Dan Dustin, these remind us of the outdoors and all the wonderful hikes and walks we have taken with my other brother and his family, not to mention all the friends with whom we explore the outdoors.  The flatware is from Germany, which reminds me of my parents and the generations of family that came before us.  The two white ramekins are filled with a corn pudding that a friend delivered and truly represented the love of friends. The handblown artisan water glasses are from our trips to Sunapee, NH and the New Hampshire Craftsman’s Fair each summer. The local wine (One form NH and the other from Long Island) we served reminded us of all the people we have met through our love of wine tasting. The cranberry sauce was made by my aunt and the bowl made by our friend. The green bowl with the purple potatoes is from my former coworkers which reminds me of our employment journeys. The serving fork in the turkey and the spoon in the bowl behind the candle are a pewter Viking set we purchased at Epcot many years ago so that is our nod to fun family vacations and adventures.  The covered casserole dish is a wedding gift from a High School friend, yes Michael and I met in High School.  The pumpkin and vegetables are from Farmer Dave’s, the farm I volunteer at with a wonderful CSA, again just wonderful people. The candle stick I purchased from a church friend, the Pampered Chef Salt and Pepper mills, I have been a consultant for 10 years for lots of amazing people. I could continue the story of the table and chairs, the tablecloth and the braided rug.  So even though it was only Michael and I sitting at the table I felt the generations, the friends, the family and all the many hands that put their love and talent into this beautiful, thankful, hopeful meal.  We are truly thankful and look forward to celebrating well into 2021.

By the way this year I will celebrate my birthday with a plant based, gluten free virtual cooking class and party thanks to Chef Lauren.  Since this year has been like nothing I expected I thought I would do something very outside my box, or at least very different. We had a wonderful time and it was outside the box for many, I encourage you all to think outside the box. I hope you celebrate the large and small moments this month and reflect on those things you are most grateful for each day.  Be well and enjoy the traditions new and old this year has brought. What is something you always put on your celebration table?

Birthday Celebration 2020

Gifting the Grieving

Gifting the Grieving

With December being here there are so many reasons to give people gifts so I hope over the next few weeks to give you some gift giving ideas for special people in your life.

Today I want to focus on those who may have lost someone they love this year, someone with whom they once celebrated the holidays.  How do you show care for them, respect the grief that they are sure to feel and express the love and care in your heart for them and their life.

First and foremost, show that you care. Continue reading “Gifting the Grieving”

12 Musings for the New Year

As the holidays approached with a beautiful full moon I decided to wade slowly into blogging once again but started with a 12 days of Christmas posting to my Facebook Page.  Many people have enjoyed my 12 posts which began December 25th and Ended with a reflection on Epiphany January 6th so I hope this year you feel love, have good health and know true joy!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Epiphany I had to reflect on Hope, Light, and Optimism, after all that is what the holidays are all about. As we move forward into 2016 I want to be more optimistic about the future and to spread hope and light. So what is the simplest way of doing that? Be nice, be gentle, care about others more than myself, share a smile, share a kindness, be generous with positivity. Oh and the big one, be kinder to myself (you know those internal messages, let’s make those more positive and hopeful as well.)

On the 11th day of Christmas I was reflecting on food, nourishment and health. With all the wonderful sugary treats people have given me, I am enjoying the taste of the sugar but realizing it is not filling nor nourishing. So I will have to eat my sweets slowly and nourish my body with whole foods so I can think clearly, be happy and play well. Wishing you a year filled with good food, good friends and good health.

On the tenth day of Christmas I was thinking about the music all around us. I love listening to Christmas music through to Epiphany. Music is such a wonderful outlet for emotions from joyous to sorrowful and everything in between. I believe that every type of music speaks to someone, may you embrace all music this year and learn from every note.

On the ninth day of Christmas I am glad for all who have found employment, those who have growing businesses; those who are happy when they work. May you all find joyful work this year!

On the eighth day of Christmas I pray for all the young people who are struggling to find their way in the world. May they all find a safe place to belong and be loved.

On the seventh day of Christmas we celebrate endings and new beginnings. May you cherish the moments which bring you joy.

On the sixth day of Christmas I am reflecting on all those who have feelings they don’t quite know how to handle. Feelings need to be felt. Hoping everyone can find a healthy way to feel and deal with their feelings. I pray you feel happiness as we end 2015 and begin 2016.

Celebrating the fourth day of Christmas has me laughing. May you experience the joy of laughter; laughing with old friends and new; laughing at silly things. What a wonderful feeling. Hoping you laugh until your eyes leak!

On the third day of Christmas I remember all those who are hurting and I pray for healing and wisdom. May they all find the best health care provider they can for their situation.

On the second day of Christmas I pray that you are all able to find moments of peace and that peace becomes contagious around the world.

Happy first day of Christmas the full moon looks amazing above our house. May the wonder of the universe peak your imagination. (This is a picture of the moon over Healing Baskets.

Christmas Moon 2015

Our Story

Our Story

Everyone has times in their lives when they do not know what to say or how best to express their love, concerns, understanding or presence. February 1st 2013 was the day my husband Michael and I had the opportunity to continue the work that Caroline Cheshire began ten years prior. We are honored to be the new owners of Healing Baskets and to continue Caroline’s legacy.  Caroline stated her hope, “Healing Baskets will give you something, whether gifts, words or just courage to reach out so that you won’t miss the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life when they need it most,” and this spoke to our hearts and our need to help people connect.

After three years we believe it is time to rename the blog and be a resource for The Perfect Sentiment for all that life puts before us. Here at The Perfect Sentiment I will share some of our life experiences but most of all I hope to inspire you to reach out with kindness to those in your life. My dream is for this blog to become a place for conversation and idea sharing. Please plan on stopping by and commenting regularly.

Below is Caroline’s story of why she began Healing Baskets, it is both beautiful and moving.

Heidi and Michael Jakoby

Co-owners, Healing Baskets

Closing 3

You cannot hide.  All of us at some time will have to face several of life’s great challenges. For me, it was my first miscarriage; my first experience of a broken dream and gut wrenching grief.  For a few weeks I sunk to an all-time low. Some friends and family sent flowers, but they definitely didn’t want to talk about it. They were embarrassed by my sadness and I was alone with my loss.  Some friendships were just never the same…

I’ve also been lonely, in a new town, with two young daughters and 6 week old twins and been told I have thyroid cancer.  After my thyroid was removed it was found to be pre-malignant.  But I will never forget how scared I was and how much I needed a friend….

I’ve also lost dear relatives and friends, one of them being my daughter’s 10-year old friend Lindsay.   There is not word to explain the loss of a child.  I’ve also had countless loved ones fight cancer.  They’ve felt frightened, and I’ve felt inadequate.

All these experiences have brought me to this place.  And it’s because my best friend and husband, and four wonderful daughters gave me their unconditional support, that my dream to help brighten lives, one friend at a time, became reality in September of 2003.

I don’t believe in coincidences.  Whether it was ‘stumbling’ into Nancy Winternight’s web site and falling in love with her beautiful healing angels or my Uncle leaving me some money when funding was the obstacle.  When one door closed, another door always opened.

My hope is that Healing Baskets will give you something, whether gifts, words or just courage to reach out, so that you won’t miss the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life when they need it most.

We welcome your feedback – your ideas, thoughts, and words of wisdom. Email us at

Brightening lives, one friend at a time,

Caroline Cheshire

Founder, Healing Baskets

Alone amidst the rush of modern life

Have you ever felt lonely?

Isn’t it interesting, that you don’t even have to be alone to feel lonely?   That you can be lonely even if you are in a relationship.  If someone doesn’t listen to you, or value your ideas… it makes you feel alone.   I also see an increasing amount of friends only concerned about themselves and their close families.    They think they are protecting them from the outside world when for personal growth they should be embracing it.  It’s not good for us, our families or the community.  We can learn so much from others.   From how to have successful friendships,  which are often like successful marriages ~ hard work.  To opening our minds and respectfully accepting other people’s views and ideas.  Wouldn’t that make for a more peaceful world?  A more respectful world.  Anyway I really enjoyed this article and hope you do too.

“There is a thread of loneliness running through the fabric of American life. Dr. Robert Weiss, a sociologist who has studied the causes and effects of loneliness, says it is “more common than colds in winter.” One study found that one in nine American adults, and one in four unmarried adults felt “very lonely.”

Why are we, a nation of people living side by side often in crowded locales, lonely? The source may lie in the values of our modern culture. Human beings need to form attachments to other human beings. One fundamental essential is the need for an emotional partner, a “significant other.” But this need is often hard to fill in a culture that doesn’t value marriage, committed relationships, or even emotional intimacy.

We need other kinds of attachments as well. We need friends, people who value us as individuals, and who want to spend time with us. Here again, our culture is often out of sync with our basic human needs. We may be in communities where people are valued only if they meet shallow cultural ideals of physical beauty and financial success. And, no one seems to have enough time to give to anyone else. So, we remain lonely.


Another reason for our loneliness is that we have the basic need to be part of a stable community. But, communities today are often in a constant state of change, shifting with the economy and a mobile population.

What are the negative effects of our cultural loneliness? Unhappiness, tension, anxiety, frustration, discontent, and a sense of not being connected to others. There is a physical impact as well: studies indicate that lonely people may have impaired immune-system functions, and are more vulnerable to colds and illness.

To overcome the loneliness of our culture, each of us needs to act in some counter-cultural ways. We need to reach out to become friends with our neighbors and acquaintances, to spend time getting to know them. We need to repair and maintain our close relationships and commit to keeping them healthy and to find ways to help others in our communities.

Finally, we need to be active participants in building communities that warmly welcome and stay connected to the people who live in them.”

Article by ~ Susan Britt

It’s The Little Things…

In the chapel at our hospice house, where I volunteer one morning a week, there are three little straw baskets.  Each hold a simple knitted square measuring about 6 inches squared with three separate designs.  A heart, a cross, and the star of David.  I’ve never met the ladies who knit these squares.  But I have seen people leave holding one.  I don’t know who knits them.  I only hope that these anonymous knitters realise how comforting it is for a visitor to say a prayer to whoever their God is, and leave with one as a momento of a passing.  It’s only a simple piece of knitting.   But don’t the simple things tell their own stories?  What bought this person to be knitting squares for hospice?   Perhaps they lost a loved one there?  Why do they knit?  Perhaps they are housebound of disabled themselves.  

This wonderful quote sums up how those little squares are making difference to lives….

“Knitting may not, on the surface, seem relevant to engines that run the world, but at its essence, it is actually quite vital. For knitting, which can express so many emotions, most often expresses love. And when all else is lost , LOVE is what most often stays with us.” Melanie Falick, Lit. 2002.

Thanking all those knitters who create little squares of love for those who need them. Because LOVE is the real engine that runs the world.  Without it, we are all lost.

Divorce lawyers, attorneys and mediators. Lend me your ears. I come to bury your insensitivity – not to praise you!

Not everyone can be a lawyer but not everyone can be a therapist either.  We all have our place in the food chain.  But I would say…times are a changing.  Therapists need to be more business savvy and lawyers  need to work on a more sensitive approach….

1.  Remember you are touching lives when people are at their most hurt and vulnerable.   They are feeling unloved, angry, and often victimized.   They are paying you top dollar for your professional services.  Your job is therefore make them feel as though you actually care about them as whole people. 

2.  Is enough ever enough?  Yes.  You know when you have enough cases.  It’s ok to say no and turn cases down rather than hurt the ones you have by doing a bad/rushed job. 

People know when they are being ‘juggled’.  You looking at my file ‘over the weekend’ doesn’t make me feel good – please never say that.  It just means I’m not important enough to fit into your day job.

 3.  Be professional at all times.   Always and I mean ALWAYS return phonecalls and emails when you say you will.  It is 100% not acceptable to miss a deadline.

Being ‘stuck in court’ working someone elses case is no excuse.  It means you ‘don’t have time for me’.     Have your assistant return the phone call or email on your behalf.

4.  Remain respectful at all times.  It isn’t your job to agree that the hurt parties partner is a vindictive bastard.    THEY  have the right to own those feelings.  You should not agree with them.  Remain a neutral calming  force. 

5.  Ask about how they are doing.  Ask about their health.  Offer them refreshments.  Suggest a physical if they complain of not being able to eat or sleep.   This sort of stress can be a killer.     I have known someone have a stroke on the day the divorce came through.   Ask about the children.  Keep a list of good local therapists in case your client is ready for one. 

6.  Be ready when the divorce comes through to thank your client for entrusting you to handle their divorce.  Send them a small gift – perhaps your favorite book with a personal note.  This personal touch shows that you really cared.  That they weren’t just a number.

If all the of the above gives you the willies – think ‘referrals’!  You treat  people right and they will tell their friends….

What People Talk About Before They Die

This article was written by Kerry Egan, Specail to CNN. Editor’s Note: Kerry Egan is a hospice chaplain in Massachusetts and the author of “Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief, and Spiritual Renewal on the Camino de Santiago.” Sometimes things just need to be shared. And this is one of them. Thank you Kerry.

As a divinity school student, I had just started working as a student chaplain at a cancer hospital when my professor asked me about my work. I was 26 years old and still learning what a chaplain did.

“I talk to the patients,” I told him.

“You talk to patients? And tell me, what do people who are sick and dying talk to the student chaplain about?” he asked.

I had never considered the question before. “Well,” I responded slowly, “Mostly we talk about their families.”

“Do you talk about God?

“Umm, not usually.”

“Or their religion?”

“Not so much.”

“The meaning of their lives?”


“And prayer? Do you lead them in prayer? Or ritual?”

“Well,” I hesitated. “Sometimes. But not usually, not really.”

I felt derision creeping into the professor’s voice. “So you just visit people and talk about their families?”

“Well, they talk. I mostly listen.”

“Huh.” He leaned back in his chair.

A week later, in the middle of a lecture in this professor’s packed class, he started to tell a story about a student he once met who was a chaplain intern at a hospital.

“And I asked her, ‘What exactly do you do as a chaplain?’ And she replied, ‘Well, I talk to people about their families.’” He paused for effect. “And that was this student’s understanding of faith! That was as deep as this person’s spiritual life went! Talking about other people’s families!”

The students laughed at the shallowness of the silly student. The professor was on a roll.

“And I thought to myself,” he continued, “that if I was ever sick in the hospital, if I was ever dying, that the last person I would ever want to see is some Harvard Divinity School student chaplain wanting to talk to me about my family.”

My body went numb with shame. At the time I thought that maybe, if I was a better chaplain, I would know how to talk to people about big spiritual questions. Maybe if dying people met with a good, experienced chaplain they would talk about God, I thought.

Today, 13 years later, I am a hospice chaplain. I visit people who are dying – in their homes, in hospitals, in nursing homes. And if you were to ask me the same question – What do people who are sick and dying talk about with the chaplain? – I, without hesitation or uncertainty, would give you the same answer. Mostly, they talk about their families: about their mothers and fathers, their sons and daughters.

They talk about the love they felt, and the love they gave. Often they talk about love they did not receive, or the love they did not know how to offer, the love they withheld, or maybe never felt for the ones they should have loved unconditionally.

They talk about how they learned what love is, and what it is not. And sometimes, when they are actively dying, fluid gurgling in their throats, they reach their hands out to things I cannot see and they call out to their parents: Mama, Daddy, Mother.

What I did not understand when I was a student then, and what I would explain to that professor now, is that people talk to the chaplain about their families because that is how we talk about God. That is how we talk about the meaning of our lives. That is how we talk about the big spiritual questions of human existence.

We don’t live our lives in our heads, in theology and theories. We live our lives in our families: the families we are born into, the families we create, the families we make through the people we choose as friends.

This is where we create our lives, this is where we find meaning, this is where our purpose becomes clear.

Family is where we first experience love and where we first give it. It’s probably the first place we’ve been hurt by someone we love, and hopefully the place we learn that love can overcome even the most painful rejection.

This crucible of love is where we start to ask those big spiritual questions, and ultimately where they end.

I have seen such expressions of love: A husband gently washing his wife’s face with a cool washcloth, cupping the back of her bald head in his hand to get to the nape of her neck, because she is too weak to lift it from the pillow. A daughter spooning pudding into the mouth of her mother, a woman who has not recognized her for years.

A wife arranging the pillow under the head of her husband’s no-longer-breathing body as she helps the undertaker lift him onto the waiting stretcher.

We don’t learn the meaning of our lives by discussing it. It’s not to be found in books or lecture halls or even churches or synagogues or mosques. It’s discovered through these actions of love.

If God is love, and we believe that to be true, then we learn about God when we learn about love. The first, and usually the last, classroom of love is the family.

Sometimes that love is not only imperfect, it seems to be missing entirely. Monstrous things can happen in families. Too often, more often than I want to believe possible, patients tell me what it feels like when the person you love beats you or rapes you. They tell me what it feels like to know that you are utterly unwanted by your parents. They tell me what it feels like to be the target of someone’s rage. They tell me what it feels like to know that you abandoned your children, or that your drinking destroyed your family, or that you failed to care for those who needed you.

Even in these cases, I am amazed at the strength of the human soul. People who did not know love in their families know that they should have been loved. They somehow know what was missing, and what they deserved as children and adults.

When the love is imperfect, or a family is destructive, something else can be learned: forgiveness. The spiritual work of being human is learning how to love and how to forgive.

We don’t have to use words of theology to talk about God; people who are close to death almost never do. We should learn from those who are dying that the best way to teach our children about God is by loving each other wholly and forgiving each other fully – just as each of us longs to be loved and forgiven by our mothers and fathers, sons and daughters.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Kerry Egan.

The Editors – CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Death • My Faith