A Good Deed Brightens Your Day

I was having one of those Very-Bad-No-Good-Days. One of the worst I’d had in a long while. When along came a total stranger and he turned my day and my attitude around. I’m not just saying that. There is science that shows good deeds and volunteer work reduces stress. I hope the story of a good deed brightens your day will do that for you. It may even inspire you to pay-it-forward. The Day Started Cold In August 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic was still going strong here in the USA. Because of my husband’s precarious health, we had kept a strict self-quarantine. Those precautions meant we’d both been healthier than we’d been in years. Then came the bad day. It was chilly outside but still August so I didn’t want to turn on the heat. So we layered up. As all the ladies know, 99% of women’s clothing does not have adequate pockets. Certainly not pockets that would hold even an old iPhone. I put on one of my husband’s soft, well-worn flannel shirts. Comfy and warm! And it had a chest pocket deep enough for my phone. I wore it all day. The Trouble Starts Our well-trained dogs followed […]

Quotes from Dystopian Fiction to Inspire You

Some people say that dystopian fiction arouses our fears of dire “if this goes on” futures. Many think dystopian fiction is too dark to read, too depressing. Perhaps. And yet, most of us don’t read to depress ourselves. When you look closely, you can also find hope and words to inspire you. There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing. Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 We Have a Chance Did you ever feel, as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using – you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines? Aldous Huxley, Brave New World We Birth Our Future Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future. David Mitchell,Cloud Atlas We Have a Choice The most important thing you can ever know, is that whatever your purpose is, that’s not your only choice. […]

The Insanity of Inequality

In 1851, the state of Illinois opened its first hospital for the mentally ill. The state legislature passed a law to protect people from being committed against his or her will. The law required a public hearing before that person was committed. With one exception, a husband could have his wife committed without either a public hearing or her consent. All the law required was “the permission of the asylum superintendent” and one doctor who agreed with the diagnosis. In the summer of 1860, Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard (1816-1897) was a victim of that law. Such was the insanity of inequality.  Early Life Betsy Parsons Ware was born in Ware, Massachusetts on December 28, 1816, to Lucy Parsons Ware and Reverend Samuel Ware. The oldest of three children, she was the only daughter. She changed her name to Elizabeth as a teenager. Her father, a Calvinist minister, made sure all his children were well-educated. Elizabeth studied French, algebra, and the new classics at the Amherst Female Seminary. She became a teacher. Elizabeth fell ill during the 1835 winter holidays. Doctors treated her with emetics, purges, and bleeding for “brain fever.” But her symptoms (headaches and feeling delirious) continued. Her father […]