We are on YouTube!!!!!!

I am thrilled to announce that we now have a YouTube channel! Hattie and Hila’s World  https://youtube.com/channel/UCyluj-22BjvMFc5vLplfAlA premiered on October 26th.

What will happen on our channel? Some silly things, like videos of Hattie and Hila just to make people smile. Some hopefully heartwarming things like telling the story of how Hila supports and loves her Paul. Some informational pieces like learning about the writing, query, and publishing process. Grief and hope will always be discussed. Maybe some pieces about fiber arts will be included. Definitely some pieces about farming and gardening will sneak in too.

And yes, it also will be a way for us to raise awareness about ALS and the fight to get treatments that work for ALS, but hopefully not in a depressing way. Instead, we want to showcase the incredible gains being made, and the hope and spirit of the ALS community.

We hope you will visit the site, and subscribe to our channel!

Sending love to you all.

Yes, I Still Am Hopeful

The world seems to be a dark, scary, angry, disease-filled mess right now. People are sick. People are angry. Afraid. Anxious. Frustrated. Isolated. At odds with others. It is a mess!

And yet, I still am hopeful. Why? Because I see the power of the next generation. I see the power of the under 40 crowd, who give their time, money, and energy to making the world a better place. They care about each other, and those older than themselves with a fierceness and honesty that is refreshing. Not love because they were told to love others, but because their hearts and minds are open and they love relentlessly and unconditionally, but with honesty. They give me great hope.

Look around you. See the youth moving and changing the world. Give thanks for them, honor them, and those of us older than them, how about we try to make them proud of us instead of the other way around. The world we gave them is a complete and total mess, and yet, they are trying to fix it — and it’s about time we join them in that quest.

They give me hope — great, big hope.


The Power of a Thank You

This morning, my day started with a thank you. A thank you that means more than I can adequately express, because it was so brutally honest and heartfelt, so unsolicited, and so unexpected considering where and when we were standing.

“Thank you” can be two of the most powerful words in English, especially when it is truly meant. They show that you are connecting with another person, and recognizing that person’s efforts. It takes you outside of yourself, and gives recognition to another.

I often write about gratitude, when I practice my daily ritual of thinking about my day and either speaking (to myself) about the people and things that impacted my day in a positive manner, or I write about it. But sometimes I forget that standing face-to-face, or voice-to-voice and saying “Thank you for…” to a person is a truly magnificent thing to do.

Have you thanked people in your life recently? Truly thanked them?

Social-Distancing without Loneliness

In the Northeast, we are heading at warp speed toward late fall and winter. The time of year when it may be painfully cold to be outside. The time of year when we all tend to want to be inside by a fire, surrounded by friends and family.

But how do we do this when COVID still lurks around us? Especially if you have someone especially vulnerable in your household, how do you keep a sense of community or connections with the isolation?

Think about other ways to keep connections. Phone calls. Text messages. Emails. Zooming. Facetime. Shorter visits outside while bundled up. Postcards. Letters. Cards. Packages left on the front steps or porch. Messages written in the frost on the windshield. Get creative, people!

Our ancestors often went months, if not years, without seeing their loved ones close up. But they kept a sense of connection through other ways. Think of ways you can do the same, and share them with your friends and family — start new traditions that are safe and healthy, and use them to form new family folklore and rituals.

Let’s get creative, and make sure everyone feels connected to someone — let’s all do our part!

(And if you have great ideas — share them, please!)

The Teachings of Hattie McCat

In August, I had a strange dream. In that dream, I was told that it was time for us to get a cat again.

Again? Why now? It seemed like an odd thing to hear in a dream.

Our last cat, Sbeckles (yes, spelled correctly), died almost seven years ago. While she was the family’s cat, truly she was Sam and Ben’s cat. And even though she was smelly, not-very-smart, often dirty, and couldn’t purr to save her life, we were heartbroken when it was her time to transition onward because she was a living link to Sam. We had no intention of ever getting another cat after Sbeckles…

Then I had this dream. And we got a kitten. A teeny, tiny, light gray striped female kitten. We named her Hattie in a nod to one of our favorite Twiddle songs.

This was Hattie on her second day with us, when she fell asleep after figuring out how to climb stairs. That was our first teaching from Hattie — when you are tired, rest!

Time has passed, and Hattie has grown and grown. Each day we marvel at her learning and her personality. She brings us joy and laughter, and more love than we can express.

What else has Hattie taught us?

Exploring is good! This is Hattie exploring her own litter box…

She has also taught us to be in the moment. For example, when I am writing and she thinks it is time to take a moment to be with her, she will do anything to press that point, such as coming up under the laptop.

She has also taught us about play. Each morning, we have to play fetch with her, and she will bring us her mouse over and over, dropping it at our feet so we can throw it one more time.

She has taught us about companionship, and the benefit of being a quiet and attentive presence with us. This is Hattie keeping me company while I work.

That dream, telling us to get a kitten, was truly a gift, as was finding Hattie McCat.