August 2005

Dear Friend

Peter and I spent 31 days at the cottage without budging. This has been the most sublime July of our lives. We were able to establish a rhythm where I wrote every morning, then we’d go for a walk, have lunch, do some errands, go back to the cottage where we’d read, I’d write and then we’d have supper and go to bed early. So sweet.

A few weeks ago we heard that my publisher HarperCollins enthusiastically accepted my new book, You Are Your Choices: 50 Ways to Live A Good Life. Having this confirmation has brought us great joy. This book will come out in 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.

I feel these years have all been a huge blessing to me as I continue to write books and you let me know they make a difference in your life. This new book has a special significance because it will be my 25th published book. Living a Beautiful Life was my fifth book! Wow.

Let me thank you for being my reader and my friend. Some of us have become so close over these years, many friendships were formed because of Living a Beautiful Life. In fact, a lovely lady from Chicago who moved to New Jersey wrote me what an impact that book had on her life. Letters were exchanged, we met, we became friends, and on July 30th, 2005, I read a lesson at her daughter’s wedding. I’d like to share it with you:

To live content with small means;
To seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion.
To be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly;
To listen to the stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart;
To bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never.
In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common.
This will be my symphony.
William Ellery Channing

In July The Hartford Courant newspaper did a feature on Peter and me and the cottage. They excerpt a portion of an essay, “You Come First.” You can read it at www.Courant.com - Making Time For Life. Anne Farrow’s writing is brilliant and Mark Mirko’s photography is poetic! I encourage you to take a look. I hope that it inspires you to pre-order Time Alive: Celebrate Your Life Every Day as well as plan to come to Stonington Village to a Happiness Weekend. Try to come November 3rd, 4th and 5th of 2005 -- but if you can’t, call the Inn at Stonington ((860)-535-2000) and be put on a list for a weekend in January or in the Spring of ’06.

While I was pruning our roses and Peter was watering the grass, a lovely lady came up to me and introduced herself. Kerry and her husband Matt greeted us warmly. As Matt was preparing to take our picture, I took off my apron but Peter still had his on. So cute! Kerri and Matt's four wonderful children were with them. They’d come down from New Hampshire to see where I live. I was deeply touched when I learned that Matt was preparing to leave for Iraq for 18 months to two years. I ran into the cottage to get a postcard of Mother Theresa. He will carry this with him to Iraq as the war continues:

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is a beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is costly, care for it.
Life is wealth, keep it.
Life is love, enjoy it.
Life is mystery, know it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it!
Mother Theresa

I want you to read Kerri’s dear letter to me. Also enclosed were photos of her porch at their home where she reads her books:

Dear Alexandra, Thank you ever so much for taking the “time out” of your gardening to allow my husband Matt and I to meet you and Peter. I honestly can’t even begin to tell you what a tremendous source of inspiration your books have been to me over the last 15 years since I first read Gift of A Letter. They are all such treasures to me. I read and re-read them often and share them with friends and relatives, and I am always looking forward to obtaining your newest book. I have enclosed a couple of photos of my porch, where I often drink tea and read your books. I also enclosed the photo Matt took of us outside your beautiful home. I love the fact that you can see Peter “hard at work” in the background. Meeting you in person was truly a delight and I will cherish the time you took to share your beauty and warmth with Matt and me. I was deeply touched by the postcards you gave to me and especially the one Matt will carry with him to Iraq. You are so very special. God Bless you both. Kerri

I hope you are enjoying fresh fish from the sea, ripe tomatoes and sweet corn. May your August be a huge blessing to you and your loved ones. Our grandchildren came to see us in July and we’re going to Washington DC for Lily’s 2nd birthday August 13th. After we return to the cottage, I will enjoy several uninterrupted weeks of bliss where I will continue to write. My editor, Toni Sciarra, will come up for her annual “editorial day” that we’ve re-named “play day” because we have so much fun together that we don’t know we’re working!

I hope you have taken lots of time for your self-transformation. Spend time reading and thinking as the summer provides us with quiet, gentle hours where we can tap into our true being. Try to do less and be more aware of life’s mysterious gifts every moment we’re alive.

Love & Live Happy


(Received following the May Happiness weekend):

Dear Alexandra and Peter ~~ Thank you so much for the extraordinary gift of yourselves. This weekend has been fabulous. It's the most wonderful weekend in my life -- so far. Over the years you have taught me so many things -- being in the moment and enjoying every single day. Then to see that you actually do practice what you preach was an experience I will not forget. Thank you so much for everything. I adore you both... Signed, Mary from Crete Illinois


Dear Alexandra and Peter: Thank you so much for so graciously opening your home and your hearts to all of us for this very special "Choosing Happiness" retreat. All trends begin with first offerings the "trend-maker" puts out into the culture -- I think we all hope to be seeds that spread your message of choosing and amplifying the positive instead of dwelling on pathology and the negative. What an absolute delight to personally meet you after absorbing all of your goodies from your books. I particularly came to this weekend to see how you, Alexandra, and now I realize Peter also, have crafted a seamless beautiful life. Where a devoted marriage, rich family and freind life, and work you are so passionate about all enhance each other. I am on a serious quest to craft "work" that smells like lilacs rather than tastes like spinach. You two will be like guiding lights for me as I get closer to my vision. You are special people indeed -- as were all the participants. I feel privileged to have met everyone. My love and appreciation, Linda (sister of Carol)

Alexandra and Kerri in Stonington Village

Stonington Village

Kerri, Matt and their children upon the 1812 cannon in Stonington Village that repulsed the British invaders in August 1814.

Alexandra and Peter welcome guests to their cottage at a recent Happiness Weekend.

Jean and daughter Susan at the May Happiness Weekend at the Inn across from the cottage.

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 spring catalogue. Turn to page 43! Choose dark or natural cherry finish.

Grace Note

I want to try to live in accord with the promptings which come from my true self. Why is that so difficult?