By Mary James
In education we teach teachers to follow the 5:1 ratio of five positives for each negative. We know eventually too many negatives affect a students heart and mind and they shut down, so even important corrections don’t have an impact.
It turns out we are all like this no matter our age. Sometimes it seems that all there is to say is negative because of what goes on in this world, but if you try you can find a positive. If you don’t have five yet hold back your one negative until you do. Your message will have much more meaning and people will listen to you more in the future.
Mary Allison James is a small town girl from Southern Arizona, but has resided in the Provo Area since 2001. She is married and has 5 grown children, and two grandchildren. An educator for 28 years, she is an assistant principal at Provo High School, but still finds time to help operate her family businesses of a small farm and cattle company, and an equestrian facility. Additionally, Mary loves to write, paint, and garden, but has diverted her energies to finishing her Doctorate of Educational Leadership at the University of Arizona. Mary's professional passion is in helping underprivileged children achieve, and hopes to someday publish her research on the topic.
By Jennifer Partridge
I have a confession to make . . . I don’t like the phrase “random acts of kindness”!
You’re probably scratching your head saying, “What?! Didn’t I just come to a blog all about kindness?”
Don’t get me wrong – I am passionate about kindness! It’s not the acts of kindness I have a problem with, it’s the word “random.” I understand what it’s supposed to mean in the phrase, but I worry that it leaves people with the impression that kindness just happens on its own. Just go about your day and at some point you’ll randomly do an act of kindness. Does that happen? Sure. But if we truly want to increase kindness in the world around us, let’s eliminate the idea of random.
Instead, let’s focus on INTENTIONAL acts of kindness! Connection, empathy, appreciating differences, & belonging happen when we deliberately make them a priority.
Recently I had a big event happening in my life. On the morning of the event, I received text messages from two different friends (who don’t know each other). They each simply mentioned they were thinking of me that day and hoped that everything went well. It was a small and simple act, but it meant a great deal to me and helped strengthen me that day! They remembered me and something important to me! What meant the most is that they took the time out of their own schedule to send me a text. They were thoughtful and intentional about making a connection! That’s what kindness is all about!
So how do we put this intentional kindness into action? I’m sure there are as many ways as there are people. That’s what makes it great -- you have unique talents and perspectives that can bless someone else in a way someone else cannot. That’s also what makes it hard -- there is no formula, and it’s up to you to make it happen!
Something that works for me is to start my day by asking, “Who needs me today? Or what can I do today to make a difference for someone else?” As you think about that while getting ready for your day, an idea will come to your mind. Then set a plan on how you will do it!
It’s easy to stay in our little bubble . . . going about the routine of life with work, school, and family. As important as it is to be kind to those we see in our normal schedule, there are more people that need us. Be intentional in expanding your bubble. Look for those who are just outside of it. So many people are craving connection and need to be seen. Your intentional acts of kindness will lift them, and in the process you will strengthen friendships and create new ones!
How will you fill the world with intentional acts of kindness?!
Jennifer Partridge is a wife and mom to four children, ages 11-19. She currently serves on the Provo School District Board of Education and is also passionate about kindness, connection, and building community. Jennifer loves chocolate, Disneyland, date nights at all of the amazing Provo restaurants, working out, and traveling.
By Amy Koide
Reading is important to development in early childhood. It can help in developing cognition, empathy, knowledge, relationships, vocabulary, concentration, literacy skills, imagination, and creativity. It can also improve social skills and interactions. Reading can teach you more about art, science, technology, history, and culture. It can make the foreign more familiar by introducing us to people and places we wouldn't normally interact with.
Books are a way to connect with things that may be foreign to us. This is an excellent way to educate children and show them both the differences and similarities they might have with other children in far away lands or who live under different circumstances.
If you have a desire to introduce your kids to other traditions, ideas, and points of view, reading books is a great way to help them broaden their horizons. Scour your local library for books on agreed upon topics and have fun with it. When we've done this, my kids and I learn right alongside each other and they have more fun knowing that Mom is learning too. Sometimes we make a game out of it, trying to find facts that the other didn’t know, write them down, and keep score. Usually, I let them win, which makes it even more fun for them. It might be difficult to know where to begin, so here are some ideas that can make it easier to integrate into your routine and make things relevant to them.
Learning shouldn’t only happen at school. Learning can and does take place in the home whether you realize it or not. What you see around you shapes you. If you only see people who are like you, your life experiences will be limited. Reading about other people, places, and ideas will broaden your child’s horizons and also make the world feel a bit smaller and more familiar. Diversifying reading material at a young age can help to combat harmful stereotypes and stigmas associated with people of different backgrounds, making for a more tolerant, loving world.
Amy Koide grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and moved to Provo with her family four years ago. She has a background in Early Childhood Education as well as Special Education. Reading has always been a big part of her upbringing, especially because her mother, grandmother, and grandfather were all teachers. She is an avid reader who shares that love with her neighbors and family.
by Jennifer Lambert
I’ve been seeing or hearing the phrase, “Hurt people hurt people” in several places over the past few months and it’s made me pause to think about how that really is true. It’s not uncommon to see people lash out at others when they’ve been hurt by someone or something, and we’ve probably all done it at one point in our lives. But what if we’re the ones who are hurting ourselves? How can we show kindness to others when we aren’t showing kindness to ourselves?
A lot of research has shown that practicing self-kindness has many benefits and rewards, like emotional intelligence, wisdom, happiness and feeling interconnected with others. Those who are kind to themselves also experience less depression and anxiety, perfectionism and fear of failure. It’s easy to see how kindness to oneself leads to kindness to others. Let’s take a look at 10 strategies for increasing self-kindness.
Remember that you deserve the goodwill you offer to others. As the Buddhist saying goes, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Be kind to yourself.
Jennifer Lambert is a writer, a PTO president, a mom and a wife. She’s never met a cheese she didn’t like and doesn’t let a little lactose intolerance get in the way of achieving her dreams. Although not a native of Provo she considers it her home now, having been welcomed with open arms and ranch dressing from the BYU Creamery.
by Dave Sewell
Where does kindness start? For many of us, our first introduction came from our parents. From my earliest memories, throughout my whole life and up to the present day, my angel mother’s kindness, love and encouragement have comforted me, buoyed me and provided wind for my sails. She also modeled how to treat other people kindly by showing genuine concern for those she interacted with.
My father was a good example of how to treat people fairly, with dignity and respect, regardless of race, economic status or culture. He taught me an enduring lesson when I was a young boy just after we had moved to a larger house. I came home one day telling him I wasn’t sure I wanted to still play with Jerry, a friend who lived in the neighborhood we had moved from. When he asked why, I made some comment comparing Jerry’s house to our new one. My father expressed disappointment in me for judging Jerry on that basis. The rebuke set my young heart on a better course – and I played with Jerry.
We can all remember people in our lives whose examples of kindness, fairness and civility have shaped our lives for good – family, friends, teachers, religious and civic leaders, mentors, associates, and sometimes strangers. Remembering those people and their positive impact on our lives can motivate and inspire us to want to “pay it forward” by being kind to others in similar fashion. Showing kindness to others is a win/win because usually both the giver and the receiver benefit from it.
Some people get off to a rough start in life lacking strong headwinds of love, kindness and encouragement. The negative effects of such deficits can be devastating, but many have risen above such challenges to give more than they got – becoming givers of the kindness they wished they had received earlier in life. My wife and I recently watched a movie titled “Noble” about one such individual. Christina Noble was sent to live in an orphanage at the age of 10. After escaping as a teenager, she suffered from gang violence while living on the street and later from domestic abuse. However, she overcame all of that to eventually form a foundation that cared for over 700,000 children in Vietnam and later in Mongolia. She spearheaded an inspiring program to provide the love and kindness to orphaned children that she wished she had experienced in her youth.
Religion can be a powerful motivator encouraging us to be kind and respectful. Most world religions have some version of the Golden Rule among their tenets – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. These words from a children’s song well known in this area seem relevant here: “Love one another as Jesus loves you. Try to show kindness in all that you do.” Many leaders of other world religions have taught similar principles of empathy and compassion – including the Buddha, Mahatma Ghandi, and the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Scientific studies have validated good reasons, unrelated to religion, for promoting and teaching kindness – especially where our youth are concerned. I found this article titled “Why Teaching Kindness in Schools Is Essential to Reduce Bullying” to be fascinating. I loved this quote within the article from Rutgers University psychology professor Maurice Elias: “Kindness can be taught, and it is a defining aspect of civilized human life. It belongs in every home, school, neighborhood and society.” I am very glad that our School Board is proactively teaching kindness in our schools and that Provo City has gotten involved in promoting kindness generally and helping with Kindness Week specifically.
I worry about civility in the public square. Kindness in the political sphere should include a willingness to listen, to seek to understand and to look for common ground. We can defend positions passionately and learn to disagree respectfully. We should not impute motives or malign intentions that we may not perfectly understand. Better solutions can result when opinions and positions are carefully considered in an atmosphere of mutual respect. I recently read an excellent book proposing that we will get better outcomes when we learn to disagree better, not less. The book is titled “Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from Our Culture of Contempt”, by Arthur C. Brooks. My colleagues on the Provo City Council have been good examples of how to do this right. We can freely debate and disagree without being disagreeable, and that has been one of the joys of my recent Council service.
Our community in Provo has historically done well in showing kindness. You are more likely to find a smile, kind words and a helping hand here than in most other places. It is one of those intangibles that makes people want to live here and/or raise a family here.
Where does kindness start? With you and with me – as individuals. I hope that we maintain it and strengthen it as a community value through our individual choices. As we each endeavor to spread kindness, our families, our neighborhoods and our entire community will be blessed and enriched.
Dave and his wife Susan have lived in Provo for over 35 years and have raised their six children here. Dave holds a master's degree in computer science and an MBA from BYU. He is an entrepreneur who has started several tech businesses. Dave has served on the City Council since 2014 as the City-Wide I representative and is currently serving as the Council Chair.
By Cortney Huber
Every time I’ve moved to Provo it felt like moving home—whether coming here for the first time as a reluctant 3rd grader, or a lifetime later, with my husband and four kids, returning after an extended educational and training period. With all of the family, friends, and memories built in, Provo felt safe, welcoming, and natural-- we belonged.
We have thrived over many years in the community we’ve enjoyed here. Recently, we challenged it. After a long, thoughtful, and painful struggle, my husband and I, along with our kids, decided to leave the church that had been the heart of our community and network. But we stayed in Provo, in our neighborhood, in our family. We wanted to preserve relationships with neighbors and ward members. Our church decision isolated us and complicated all of our relationships. We tried to be very open and authentic about our decision, so instead of just quietly disappearing, we reached out with a letter to family, friends and many neighbors, explaining our choice. The responses we received varied. Reaction to this kind of news is a complicated and individual calculation.
The best replies made us feel valued and included. They expressed empathy about our painful journey, offered love, and reaffirmed their intention of continuing our relationship. One friend asked for feedback about some issues she was thinking through, showing she still valued and trusted my opinions and judgment. Another said, “I never felt more connected to you than I did when I read your letter explaining your church decision,” not because she could relate to my struggle but because she appreciated the openness and vulnerability. Another said, “I got your letter. I’m sorry for your pain. Let’s go for a walk and you can tell me more.” Some family members said, “We read your letter. We love you. Can we come talk so we can better understand your choice?” Even expressions of sadness offered us a chance to connect with people and deepen our relationship, as long as they could accept and respect our decision.
People who responded in the ways that were most meaningful to us had found it possible to remove fear from their reaction, and by doing this, they communicated to us that we weren’t a threat to them, that they still wanted us close. Author and social scholar Brene Brown said, “We are connected to each other in a profound way and the thing that moves us away from that faster than anything else...is fear.” Instead of coming to us with fear, these people offered us something much more productive:
Belonging is an important human need—not merely a want or desire—to feel accepted and claimed. The lack of it brings detrimental consequences to health and well-being. Child welfare advocate Amelia Franck Meyer highlighted this in a 2016 TEDx Talk: “When we can’t connect, we don’t belong. And when we don’t belong, we have no protection of our tribe and our brain acts as though our survival is at risk, because it is.” There are innumerable social and individual benefits that come from belonging in a strong community-- from a greater ability to contribute, having an increased sense of purpose and resilience, higher personal achievement, to lower violence and crime, and improved educational outcomes. The benefits are significant and varied.
We strengthen our community when we remove fear from our interactions and genuinely connect with each other with respect and acceptance—when we help build belonging. I’m sure many of our friends and family had trouble finding the “right things” to say to us. But we always appreciated a sincere effort to show acceptance and love— removing fear to expand the parameters of belonging.
Cortney Huber and her husband, Brad, have four kids and are longtime Provo residents. Their shared love of travel and adventure has recently taken them to New Zealand, where they will be living for the next year.
Now, consider moving, but make it during a pandemic.
Last summer, my family moved to Provo, to a new-to-us home and neighborhood, and we love being here. It seems strange to even be saying this because we’ve lived here for seven-and-a-half months, but: we look forward to meeting our neighbors. Rather, we look forward to getting to know them, to putting more faces with names.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “desperate times call for desperate measures,” and while some may describe the last year or so as being desperate, I’d call it extraordinary. Met with the challenges presented, most everyone I know has stepped up, including stepping out of their comfort zones, to meet the challenges of the unknown. As for me and my house, we’ve been the recipients of such efforts as these extraordinary times have yielded extraordinary measures of kindness and generosity.
Individuals, couples, and families (all masked and safely distanced) have knocked on our door to welcome us to the neighborhood. We’ve been the recipients of plates of cookies, loaves of bread, flowers. One woman stopped by with a basket of fresh vegetables harvested from her own garden that morning. A family on our block favored us by delivering not only delicious homemade soup, but also Welcome signs made by their children, which signs I see every morning on my refrigerator. Complete strangers have made an effort to cross the street to say hello and give an introduction.
Last Thanksgiving one of my life’s dearest friends passed away, and just three days later, a woman who I had long admired but (at that point) known only casually drove an hour to deliver flowers and homemade matzo ball soup, which, as she taught me, “has a long history of feeding those who are hurting, who feel defeated, who are reeling from pain and loss.” The meaning behind that -- the time, the effort, the love involved -- helped to heal my heart.
In January my husband and I felt utterly defeated when we tested positive for COVID-19. Yet, as more people learned of our situation we were again shown extraordinary measures of genuine kindness in the form of loving messages, and deliveries and drop-offs of helpful supplies. These words and acts provided sunshine and respite during a grim season for us. The effects of those actions have been memorable, lasting, and a source of inspiration for us to be better at looking for ways we can help others.
I’m confident that anyone reading this could come up with similar anecdotes from their own lives regarding their experiences and interactions during the pandemic. Perhaps taking some time to write them down would be a good idea, maybe especially taking note of what could easily be seen as, “small things,” which we all know typically lead to extraordinarily bigger impacts than could be imagined.
As life increasingly becomes more social, we’ll all have a chance to interact in ways we’ve longed for over the past year or so. This presents us with opportunities to be more inclusive, more welcoming, more interested and invested in each other. When my family and I moved last summer, we didn’t get a chance to say the goodbyes we wanted to, in the way we wanted to, and the same applies to being able to meet our neighbors when we arrived in our new home. Still, like everyone else facing the challenges of the last year, we’re doing our best, and we’re grateful for others who have been creative, kind, patient, and shown genuine concern for the new family on the corner -- what are their names again?
Jenny Dye loves writing, but not writing her own bios. She is a Zumba fitness instructor, actor, and podcaster. Jenny has been a blogger since 2005, which has led to many professional opportunities, including working with The United Nations Foundation, and as a National Advocate and speaker for Shot@Life, which works to get life-saving vaccines to children around the world. Jenny and her husband John just celebrated 4 years of marriage, and together they have 11 kids, ages 27 to 12.
By Kristen Cramer
Do you ever feel like you don’t belong? I’d wager we have all felt like that at some point…or at many points. I know I have. Whether it’s in school, a club, religious organization, political party, sports team, friend group, neighborhood, or something else, we just don’t always feel like we belong.
To belong to something suggests a feeling of fitting in, or being in the right place. We aren’t going to feel like we belong everywhere. This world is full of such a variety of wonderful people with unique personalities, interests, cultures, causes, backgrounds, and dreams that there’s no way we will always feel belonging in the same situations. That’s okay! What’s important (in my experience) is that you have a place or places that you DO feel like you belong.
Before moving to Provo, I considered Utah County, and more specifically Provo, as the last place I would want to live. I thought of it as an enclave of BYU students and alumni; a homogenous sea of like minded people living similar lives and cheering for the Cougars. Work brought our family here (ever so reluctantly), and here we have stayed for almost 12 years. While this certainly isn’t the most diverse place to live, it is a far cry from the stereotype I had of the city. I have found people I connect with, my kids have found friends, and we have found a community full of things our family loves. We love the river trail, all the parks, the proximity to the mountains, the people, and a chance to live near many of the places we frequent. We have found people willing to welcome us and we have even found a sense of belonging here.
As newlyweds, my husband and I lived where there was immense diversity within the neighborhood. We did not have much in common with many of our neighbors including sexual orientation, nationality, marital status, age bracket, religion, and more. But you know what? We still had much in common with these people and we felt welcome, included, and a part of something bigger than ourselves. We have treasured memories of the people in this wonderful neighborhood.
Conversely, we have lived where the homogenous nature of the community was mind boggling: the vast majority of people shared our religion, race, marital status, and life stage. Yet in this community we struggled to find belonging and did not always feel welcome. There were wonderful people living in this neighborhood as well, but it was a relief when we moved.
What these experiences have taught me is you really never know where you will feel welcome or where you will find a sense of belonging. It’s up to each of us to give people and places a chance. Get to know others and explore what you have in common and learn from your differences.
I hope that everyone is able to find places and groups in which they feel welcome, valued, and where they feel a sense of belonging. Best wishes on your journeys!
Kristen Cramer has lived in Provo for over a decade. She is the wife of an amazing husband, mother to three incredible children, and is passionate about doing good. She also enjoys photography, hiking, gardening, and reading.
By Betsy Barrow
For several months in a row last year, I received emails inviting me to attend an Asian Advisory Committee Meeting for the Provo School District. I figured that I was probably receiving these emails because my youngest son was born in China and joined our family when he was 4 years old. I hoped that this advisory committee was made up of Asian parents and I was very interested in learning from them. However, as an adoptive Caucasian mother, I wasn’t sure whether I would feel like an outsider in these meetings. With each email invitation, I considered attending but could never gather the courage to show up.
Last March, shortly after many events were canceled or moved online because of the pandemic, I received another email invite, this time for a meeting over Zoom. With less distraction in my life and many questions about how recent events might affect my son, I decided to attend. I was hesitant as I pressed the link to join and waited for the host to let me in. When it was my turn to introduce myself, I explained my insecurities about attending the meeting. Immediately one of the parents exclaimed, “We have needed you!” Although I didn’t know how I might contribute, her warmth and the sentiment that I was needed gave me immediate assurance that I belonged in this group. I have reflected on how this experience made me feel many times since. This message of belonging is one that many in our community long to hear.
Erik Carter, professor of special education at Vanderbilt University, interviewed more than 500 adolescents with an intellectual disability and their parents about what helps them to flourish in their communities. These Individuals expressed needs to be present, invited, welcomed, known, accepted, supported, cared for, befriended, needed, and loved. Using the visual of a wheel, Carter illustrates how the fulfillment of these needs progressively fosters a greater sense of belonging. Although Carter’s research was specific to adolescents with disabilities, he acknowledges that these needs are universal.
(Carter, Erik. “Fostering Belonging: Inclusion, Friendship, and People with Disabilities.” Marjorie Pay Hinkley Lecture, 2018, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.)
Most of us can remember a time when we have experienced the awkward loneliness that occurs outside of belonging—times when we have felt seen but not known, present but not accepted, invited but not needed, and welcomed but not loved. As I consider my own experiences in the context of Carter’s model, I recognize that my efforts to invite and welcome, although important and sincere, often stop short of helping others to feel a true sense of belonging. Carter’s model helped me to understand why the words, “we have needed you” felt so reassuring.
I have been grateful for times in my life when neighbors, friends, and even acquaintances have found the courage to reach beyond invitations and welcomes to graciously pull me in. A short time after my late husband died by suicide in 2012, I was invited to a public event. I dreaded going but I also knew that I couldn’t stay home forever. As I entered the room filled with members of my community, a weight of overwhelming loneliness made each step feel awkward. I wished for invisibility as I walked to my seat, nervous about making people uncomfortable with my presence, knowing many people might not know what to say to me.
After sitting down, a woman on the row in front of me, whom I had met previously but did not know well, turned around and smiled. I smiled back unsure if she knew about my husband’s death. She extended her hand toward me, prompting me to reach my hand toward hers. When our hands met, she squeezed tight and mouthed the words, “I love you.” This unconditional acceptance conveyed to me that I was not alone in my grief and that I belonged to a community of people who loved me—a message that has been stored in my memory as one of the most profound acts of kindness I have ever received.
The visual created by Carter’s wheel of belonging has become a guidepost for me when reflecting on my own efforts to reach out. Inviting and welcoming comes easily to me but moving beyond these more superficial gestures requires courage and an awareness of others’ proximity. At times, our lives can feel too full or our social obligations too demanding to comprehensively address each need that Carter suggests. However, my experience with the advisory committee and my memory of being reached out to in a lonely crowd remind me that our most successful efforts to help others belong (especially those who feel on the outside of our social circles) will require us to reach beyond what is comfortable to assure others of their unconditional importance in our lives and in our community.
Betsy moved to Provo with her children six years ago. She and her husband, Jeff, were introduced to each other by one of their Edgemont neighbors; after discovering their shared love of frozen yogurt, sushi, and BYU football, they decided this was a match made in heaven. They have a blended family of 8 young-adult children who often keep them up past their bedtime. Betsy loves cooking with her family, traveling, and gardening. She will be pursuing a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at BYU next fall.
By Sherrie Hall Everett
The pandemic is changing my perspectives on so many things. It’s taught me to slow down, play in my garden more, and reinvent how I interact with family, friends and neighbors. It’s created a sense of community and connectedness in a different way...most of which occurs on Zoom.
I remember the first few weeks of the pandemic. I stepped onto my patio where I used to hear the busyness of the world rushing by in a low hum from the freeway about a mile away. It was suddenly barely audible. I noticed because of the near silence. I relished the quiet in contrast to my unusually busy, and yes, often frantic world. In the space of a few weeks, the entire world was being forced to slow down. The pandemic shifted all of us abruptly.
Our friends, our communities, and even our family interactions shifted. I loved the quieter, slower pace for me, I settled in determined to enjoy being still and becoming an introvert.
Part of the magic for me of this experience was the opportunity to really think about my interactions with others. I thought deeply about how I extended acceptance to others, and allowed others to BE who they were—in their journey, learning their things. I felt zero need to change others, to influence them one way or another. I decided to just wonder at their lives and experiences and see their individual magic. I took a welcome personal break from Facebook — other than work for clients — and appreciated the new pace.
I got quiet. I listened hard to the silence. I tried to encourage and connect with others through calls and texts. But then COVID-19 hit close.
My four brothers and I discovered a new reliance and belonging as we met over Zoom for days to help our elderly parents through a prolonged bout of COVID-19. Helping both of them survive and cope, for the longest time they had ever been separated in their lives, was an act of increased belonging and loving that each family member gave with unmeasured generosity.
We relied on each other’s expertise, on our different communication styles, and varied approaches to problem solving and ways of thinking. We leaned into each other’s quirks and triggers. And loved. And chose patience. And expressed gratitude. COVID actually blessed our family. We learned just how smart, capable and essential each of us siblings were to this situation. We learned more about respect and resilience.
So, what does that have to do with community and neighborhoods—and welcoming and belonging?
I think when we see those around us from the start as smart, capable, kind, struggling, hopeful, and striving, we extend an invitation to welcome and to belong. We allow for mistakes, growth, and more connection. I’ve been thinking as I watch Zoom church, that I’ve lost track of the new people joining my neighborhood and community. I’ve yearned to unify us in some socially distanced, yet acceptable way.
I think I have discovered something I hope is wildly successful. I’m a passionate gardener, and this year I’ve sown hundreds of seeds in milk jugs. As they sprout and grow, I’ve loved the diversity and variety and the potential each seedling has to grow into something magnificent.
I want to share them with neighbors, with a note thanking them for sharing their lives with me in our neighborhood. I’m eager to express how much I love their energy, seeing them walk their dogs, bike with their children, and leave empty milk jugs on the porch for me to sow more seeds. I want to make a space of connection and belonging and most of all acceptance.
I’ve been grateful for neighborly help wrangling trees, pulling out countless stems of runaway mint by willing young people who have filled my yard with laughter, hard work, and kindness. We’ve built community.
So, let’s hope the last part of that winter sowing milk jug seed experience will result in little red cups of poppy seedlings that I can share with neighbors—and who knows, perhaps I’ll see pots on porches scattered throughout the neighborhood that connect all of us to feeling like we all deeply belong.
Sherrie trained her entire life for the pandemic not missing a beat working from home within arm’s reach of the back door. That door opens dozens of times a day for two adorable pups that beckon her into a garden that was guiltily neglected during many years in politics and public service. It’s making a comeback little by little. She has big plans to share that garden. Follow @sherriesgarden on Instagram and Facebook to see the progress. Introversion has its benefits.