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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.

Firstly, I’m sorry I have been remiss in writing our blog!

I’m also a teensy bit embarrassed when I re-read some of my old posts… They are very personal and not very relevant to buying one of our baskets. The are more about mothering four girls than sourcing and designing the more heartfelt gifts and baskets on the market…

The end of 2012 proved to be quite a challenge which ended with a home and office move in December of all months! But you know how they say, ‘it’s meant to be’. Well in this case it certainly was. All our new digs are SO much nicer! When the opportunites arose, we chose to take them and have not looked back. From a one window basement office we now look through huge glass windows onto a beautiful pond surrounded by trees. From a home with lots of upkeep we now enjoy little yard work.

Now that we are settled again, this year I plan to focus more on the relevant issues, which are also deeply personal. Issues of hurt. Issues of comfort. Issues on how to move on from, or learn to live with, a significant hurt. Issues of what to say. What not to say. And how we can REALLY help.

Wishing everyone a belated but happy new year.

Thanks for reading our blog. I’m back. Revitalized and will see you back here regularly in 2012!

Sad for a moment…but the image stayed with me

Our daughter is 19.  She’s interning in LA for the summer.  She’s just out of a year long relationship which broke her heart.

Getting her and keeping her in LA was a lot of work, and emptied our bank account.  But we justified it all by deciding this was the summer she should ‘grow’ as a person and citizen of the world.  To touch, to smell,  to hear, and see new things for the first time.  For her to stand on her own two feet and get to know herself.  To learn that ‘she’ and only ‘she’ can be responsible for true happiness.  Not a boyfriend.  Not a job.  Not how much money she hopes to earn.

 “I saw something sad today Mom” she said.  “I saw a hooker outside Subway and she looked about 70”.  I asked her if she was sure.  The plastic thigh boots and matted blonde hair divided by a 6 inch black stripe suggested she was right.  She was sad – for a minute.  To her it was like watching a scene from a TV show.   That scene was quickly replaced with the next scene and life moved on in an instant.  Her sandwich was ready and she was eager to get back to work.

Sad to her for a moment?  To me,  tragic.  Heart breaking.  Frustrating.  Disturbing.   The image stays with me…

I see the prostitute.  And my mind wonders…  Is the 70 year old really a tired, abused 50?  Did she feed her children breakfast this morning?  Or were her children taken away from her?   What and when was her last meal?  I try not to imagine the stench when she peels off her plastic boots after a hard days work.  Is every dry line on her face a testament to every bruise, every tear, every thrown insult.   Does she take drugs?  Does she have a mental health issue that was never disagnosed or treated?  Does anyone care about her?   Does she ever laugh?    Does insist her customers wear condoms or is it too late and it doesn’t matter anymore.   Does she sleep well.  Does she dream?  The image of her stays with me for days.

So, where was I at 19?  In exactly the same place as my daughter.  Living in a world of ‘self’.  A world that was safe.  A world that revolved around me, and the instant gratification of the here and now. 

I realize there is plenty of time for her to see the world for how it really is.   Perhaps there is even such a thing as knowing and feeling too much.

Let her be young and innocent for as long as she can.  Because once your eyes are opened from your ‘own’ world to the ‘real’ world it changes.  You have to live with guilt.   Guilt that you were one of the lucky ones.  That you were born to good parents that loved you.  That your circumstances gave you every chance of ‘making it’.  And guilt that says even knowing this – you can’t help every person and you can’t ‘fix’ the sad, and poor and lonely.   

Peace comes with living the best life you can and being the best person you can be.  A life whereby you look that prostitute in the eye and say ‘good morning’.   You don’t look away.   You treat every living person with respect and kindness.    

They say youth is wasted on the young.   Because if we were young again with all our knowledge, what a life we could have.   But would our knowledge have changed the life of this prostitute?  Probably not.

So my darling daughter enjoy being young and guilt free while you can, and always live your best life.

Beautiful Oops

It’s very noisy here, and hard to imagine that two 11 year olds girls coming down stairs really do make furniture shake.   The phone rings constantly and I’m the only one who seems to hear it and have to be chase down one of four missing handsets usually found under beds or in sofa cushions.  

Within our chaos naturally we have plenty of oopsies.   The fridge is always overful.    OK, OK.  I’m a leftover person.  And I like to have four types of mustard, several salad dressings, and at least three jellies just in case someone asks for them.  When the fridge door opens anything can happen.   We have learned to bend at the waist when we open the door to protect our toes from crashing yogurts or glass jars. 

And then there are the cupboards.  Things are precariously balanced in every cupboard, especially pots and pans.   This is why I am a huge fan of plastic.  Thank goodness the quality is so good now you don’t feel like you are eating a picnic.  Target’s melanine plates this year actually look like Spanish glazed plates – incredible.  And even more incredible they go in the dishwasher, and bounce when you drop them. 

I have a noisy eater and a messy eater from birth.  She’s 11 now and I still have to say ‘slow down’, ‘take the food to your mouth, not your mouth to the food’ and then always the final check before school – it’s usually an oops shirt change situation.  I’m usually in a rush, because I love life and want to do it all.  But with that comes more oops.  I’m bad at typos as I type very fast, to keep up with my thoughts.  With speed comes errors.  And I slink into a corner when I hear people say that a typo is absolutely a reason not to interview someone for a job, or use a company.  A typo means unprofessional!  I’m not unprofessional, I just type too fast and ok, should go back and carefully check…. But I’m on the next email by now making typos in that one too.

But I just discovered a wonderful new children’s book called ‘Beautiful Ooops’.    I love everything about it and particularly the message that it’s OK to make a mistake. In fact, hooray for mistakes! A mistake is an adventure in creativity, a portal of discovery. A spill doesn’t ruin a drawing—not when it becomes the shape of a goofy animal. And an accidental tear in your paper? Don’t be upset about it when you can turn it into the roaring mouth of an alligator.  Barney Saltzberg, the effervescent spirit behind Good Egg, offers a one-of-a-kind interactive book that shows young readers how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. A singular work of imagination, creativity, and paper engineering, Beautiful Oops! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges, and even an accordion “telescope”—each demonstrating the magical transformation from blunder to wonder.  The smudge becomes the face of a bunny, a crumpled ball of paper turns into a lamb’s fleecy coat—celebrate the oops in life.   Reading level: Ages 4-8.  Hardcover: 28 pages measuring: 6.8 x 6.8 x 1.2 inches

Summer Lessons Learned

The cooling air, the bright blue skies, the turning leaves, a quieter house, leads me to face the fact that summer is drawing to it’s beautiful close.

Today I want to celebrate the things I learned this summer. 

I learned that you can grate hard boiled eggs?  I kid you not.  They grate like a dream to make incredibly smooth egg salad….

I learned that Carvel blue ice cream cake frosting makes great make up!   Or so I found out at the twins 11 year old birthday party as one little friend caked it on her cheeks, lips, and eye lids…

I learned that when your 19 year old daughter is in love it’s a wonderful thing.  And when they are in love with someone who brings out the best in them and with someone that your whole family simply adores – it’s WIN WIN WIN! 

I learned that I couldn’t do most of the 6th grade summer math packet!

I learned that when I took TV and computers away from my kids as a punishment, after a sulky 5 minutes THEY had the best day ever!  They actually seemed ‘relieved’ that it was gone.  It’s just too hard for them to make that decision on their own and I need to do that more often for their own well being.

I learned that puppies like children cannot raise themselves without direction.  Our new puppy got lost in the chaos of summer and needs some urgent training.  She can still be found standing in the middle of the dining room table finishing up breakfast and it is entirely our fault for not finding time for her.

I am incredibly grateful for 12 fabulous weeks with my patient husband and incredible four girls.   Our house rang with laughter and music (they learned the ukelele and harmonica).  Our home was a constant mess.  It was way too noisy.  It was the best summer I can remember!

I’ve Learned – Unknown

I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be some that can be loved. The rest is up to them.
I’ve learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back.
I’ve learned that it takes years to build up tust, and only seconds to destroy it.
I’ve learned that it’s not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.
I’ve learned that you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do.
I’ve learned that you can do some thing in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
I’ve learned that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.
I’ve learned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
I’ve learned that you can keep going long after you can’t.
I’ve learned that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel. That either you control your attitude or it controls you.
I’ve learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done regardless of the consequences.
I’ve learned that money is a lousy way to keep score.
I’ve learned that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.
I’ve learned that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.
I’ve learned that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.
I’ve learned that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.
I’ve learned that no matter good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.
I’ve learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.
I’ve learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.
I’ve learned that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.