October 2005

Dear Friend

Let me begin by telling you that at the end of August each year, my assistant, Sharon, goes on vacation for ten days with her husband and their three teen-aged daughters. Sharon is loyal, faithful and hard working; the end of August is her time to be alone with her family. So, my August Website is written earlier than is typical so that Sharon may have it prepared for the 1st of September deadline. As a result, I wrote my August newsletter before tragic hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

It was an apocalypse. All of our lives have been changed by the shock of what hurricane Katrina did to destroy New Orleans. It was our American tragedy so close on the heels of the tsunami that streaked half way around the world. Peter and I were in Hong Kong on December 26th, 2004 when that hell unfolded. And, within a month since Katrina, Rita, first a category 5, was headed toward New Orleans and Texas. None of us could believe what was happening.

Peter is President of the Riot Relief Fund, an organization that for the past 142 years has been giving relief to the needs of New York City fire departments and police departments. Immediately following the news of Katrina, Peter and I left Connecticut, traveled to New York City, and arranged for payment of $30,000 to the fire department and $30,000 to the police department to help defray expenses for their aide to New Orleans. The Riot Relief Fund was the first charitable agency to get these funds into the right hands in a timely manner.

We all feel so helpless, but there are things we can do to help. For all of us who have friends who lived in New Orleans who are now homeless, we can send them little things that will help them have hope and faith, as they must completely start their lives over. They have no memorabilia, no favorite treasures, their children don’t have their toys …

Time Alive: Celebrate Your Life Every Day has never been more timely. I was at an awards dinner for the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) with the thrill of talking about my new book for the first time. Before I spoke, a woman from AmeriCares showed a short video of the tsunami and hurricane Katrina. As she spoke, Linda told us that hurricane Rita was a category 5 headed directly for New Orleans. When the lights came back on, I felt the pain in the hearts of everyone. Before I spoke, I asked everyone to be silent as we prayed. Time Alive was warmly received. I’m certain the seriousness of the further potential damage of hurricane Rita helped us all to be more aware of the fragile nature of our human journey. I wrote Time Alive as a wake-up call for you and for me.

My heart goes out to all of you who have written me and sent E-mails, to let me know my books are making a difference in your lives. I’m grateful for your continuous loyalty to me and my work, appreciative that we are evolving together into deeper understanding and knowledge about how to live more intelligently, how to be more loving, how to live as beautifully as we can while we have this great gift of time alive

Time Alive is now in bookstores! You can find it in your local bookstore or you can order it on my website. Or, if you’d like a personalized copy, please call one of my favorite bookstores in New York City -- Lenox Hill Bookstore at (212) 472-7170. Ask for Jeannine. She will happily assist you in placing your order for a personalized copy. Things I Want My Daughters to Know was this small bookstore’s number one best selling book because of my friends and fans who order autographed copies by the box full!

We received great news the end of September: Things I Want My Daughters to Know and Choosing Happiness both went back to press for new printings. And, I continue to personalize copies of these two books through Jeannine.

I’ve just finished writing You Are Your Choices: 50 Ways to Live the Good Life. I am now editing the essays. Sharon is putting my longhand on the computer. (By contract this book is due November 1, 2005.) This is a powerful book I believe is important and encouraging to all of us who are trying to live the good life, the life that’s aim and purpose is happiness for others and ourselves. You Are Your Choices comes out October 2006, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty and Joy to Every Day of Your Life. If any of you have something personal to share with me about the impact that this book had on your life, please let me hear from you. My publisher intends to have some publicity about Living a Beautiful Life upon the publication of You Are Your Choices.

I’d like to share a few brief comments from a few of my readers, words that touch my heart:

“We were hit very badly by the hurricane. My eyes are filling up and I really need a good cry.” (Mary - New Orleans, LA)

“When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I pick up one of your books. (I’m pretty sure I have them all) and I read a chapter or two and it immediately relaxes me. Odd, but it works. Your grace notes have been inspirational to me. Small things have made such a difference. I’ve always been an avid reader, but reading your books inspires me to broaden my horizons and start to read the classics … So not only do I get practical and inspiration pointers on how to live a more graceful and productive life, I’m also getting a whole new dimension to my life with my expanded world of reading. For that I am thankful.” (Bernadette - Oak Lawn, Illinois)

“Reading your books puts me in a Zen mood.” (Sharon – Des Plains, Illinois)

“Your writings are so beautiful and uplifting, and I especially agree with your no hurry way of life. Thank you so much for making my day so pleasant.” (Trish – Casa Mesa, CA)

“Thank you for your beautiful inspiring work. I have been a reader of yours for a very long time. I lived a beautiful life and lost it – and was spiritually crushed. In my darkness, I reached for your book Living in Love and wept as I reread your message. I had lost my fundamental self and my true way – ‘to love and be loved.’ You re-birthed me with your words. Bless you.” (Zeneta – San Diego, CA)

We have some late blooming blue hydrangea and pink roses. This morning there is a pair of swans on the harbor that we can see from the study window. Peter and I are looking forward to our book tour for Time Alive. Please continue to check the calendar to see where we’ll be in hopes we can meet face to face. We’re excited to return from Alabama Friday, November 4th, to have a fall Happiness Weekend. Check with the Inn at Stonington for other dates for the winter and spring. Their number is (860) 535-2000. We are then off to Palm Beach on Sunday, November 6th for a talk.

I hope your fall is productive and you embrace your Time Alive. Please let me know your thoughts. The book is beautiful: blue hydrangea on the cover, pink inside.

I send you a heart full of love. For all my friends who have been displaced, who evacuated, who are homeless, remember how much we all care. As the Buddha taught us, “When someone suffers, we all suffer.” Blessings.

Love & Live Happy

Some of Alexandra's late blooming Nikko blue Hydrangea and pink roses from the picket fence.

Peter and Alexandra participated in the wedding of Kate Scheuring and Matthew Quin in July. Photo taken at the rehearsal dinner.

Alexandra's Nikko Blue Hydrangea cottage garden this summer.

A garden scene by Roger Muhl, painted in 1984. If interested in any of Muhl's lovely work, please contact Alexandra.

Peter and Alexandra at Mid-West Book Festival receive first copy of Things I Want My Daughters to Know ... encouraged by Albert Einstein in background.

Happiness Weekends Planned for May!

Alexandra will be having a Fall Happiness Weekend on the 4th, 5th and 6th of November. Call Anne at the Inn at Stonington for details. Plan to come. It's a fabulous weekend!

The beautiful artwork of Ruger Muhl

"Labaie de St. Tropez" lithograph. 21" x 28.5" Edition of 150. $1400 unframed.

Many of you have expressed an interest in this great artist’s work. I’ve been collecting Muhl paintings for 42 years. If you are interested in becoming a proud owner, please let me know. The prices range from lithographs to oils. Fax me at (212) 996-4625. Tell me your price range (lithographs are $1,400 and oils are $6,000 to $36,000). This one artist has brought great joy to the lives of hundred of collectors.

Mrs. Brown's Table

Good News! Levenger has brought the Mrs. Brown table back. Call toll free (800) 544-0880 to get their gorgeous complimentary catalogue.

Grace Note

It is these times of great challenge that we realize the virtue of fortitude, where we have the ability to achieve strength of mind, that allows us to suffer pain and adversity with courage and perseverance.