An International Thanksgiving:
Sometimes, Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates . . .

We had a special Thanksgiving dinner this year, one we will always remember—because of our wonderful guests. Many members of our family, for various reasons, could not spend the holiday with us this time. Although we would miss them, we realized we now had room at the table for eight more people, and this gave us the opportunity to ask friends and family who had been on our invitation wish list. The possibilities seemed almost endless, and it was difficult to know where to start . . .

Zip Lines, Kicking and Screaming:
Or, the Lengths to Which One Will Go to Ensure That Her Husband Has a Happy Birthday

Okay, so I’m not the bravest person in the world. I’ll admit that. Roller coasters were never my thing—there’s something about my stomach going in one direction and the rest of my body going in another that has just never appealed to me. And that being the case, in recent years, I’ve found myself also avoiding zip lines. Yep, those lines. Zip lining, now all the rave, is up there on my bucket list with skydiving—in the “never” category . . .

Italy: Why I Went, What I Did, and Why Everyone Should Go Somewhere Far Away, Alone (or Almost Alone), at Least Once in Their Life—Part 1

Sometimes you have an opportunity that seems like a miracle, like the planets have aligned or the sea waters parted. You dismiss the idea as impossible, then somehow, suddenly, things fall into place. It’s as if you’re meant to do it, and once that thought occurs to you, you just go with it. That’s how I came to find myself in Italy for two weeks last fall . . .

Italy: Why I Went, What I Did, and Why Everyone Should Go Somewhere Far Away, Alone (or Almost Alone), at Least Once in Their Life—Part 2

The others were long gone when I headed down to breakfast on Monday morning. Packing up was a challenge, as I had already begun to collect souvenirs. I learned that first weekend not to buy books when traveling on a long trip by air—they’re heavy, and you will need to (somehow) get them home. Further, you will have to lug them around with you in the meanwhile. I found myself thinking (too late) that I can always get books online and that I should have done that. A lover of books, I found any reason not to purchase them as souvenirs to be a revelation. However, since I had already picked up several (I had been to the Vatican Museum store, and also to an on-the-street bookstore, where I purchased a bio of St. Francis of Assisi), I was already reaping what I had sown . .

Real People Empty Nesting:
Gail Mooney—Photographer, Filmmaker, World Changer

New York–area filmmaker Gail Mooney found her calling at a young age—as a cultural photographer, she tells other people’s stories, one frame at a time. Many years and countless assignments later, Gail, now in her sixth decade, felt it was time to go down that road again. Seeking leads on people who had “made a difference in the world,” Gail popped out an email, almost on a whim, to those in her address book. She had a project in mind, she told her readers, a film about world-changers, but she needed help finding subjects. Within 20 minutes, Gail had her first response . . .

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