What is the Kindest Thing?

What does being kind bring up for you? Is it paying for the meal or coffee or toll of the person behind you? Is it a hug or refraining from saying something sharp or critical to your friend or family member? Is it words of encouragement? Or making a delicious meal for someone who’s having a hard time?

Those examples are the easy side of being kind. There’s a tougher side to kindness as well.

Being kind can be releasing someone who needs you to let them move into the next chapter of their life. It can be ending work at a place of employment because it’s taking too high of an emotional toll. It can be encouraging yourself to go for a walk when you’re stressed or to eat a nutrition-packed lunch instead of fast food so you’ll feel great the rest of the day. It can be saying something that needs to be said, even though you don’t know how it’ll turn out.

One example of the difficult side of kindness from my own life is helping my 24-year-old son pack and get ready to move out West. My mother heart wants him to stay in this area, close to me, so I can see him, spend time with him, feed him, etc. But that wouldn’t be kindness if I pressured him to stay or to heaped guilt on him for deciding to go. It’s natural and healthy for young adults to leave the nest, to spread their wings, and fly off on adventures of their very own. I did my work of raising him, and now it’s time for him to fly.

Similarly, I didn’t hold my daughter back when she left a year and a half ago at age 18. The kind thing was to help her gather together and pack all the household things she’d need for life on her own. To hug her and say how proud I was of her for being so brave to go after her dreams. And I was there to wave her off down the road. After she left, I had two weeks where I was so exhausted I could hardly leave my bed. When I went to the grocery store or anywhere in our small college town, it felt empty. I was bereft and grieving. And it was ok. I slowly adjusted to it and eventually it became less painful. Still hard, but less intensely so.

I think I will have a period of grieving after my son goes as well, and that’s ok. As we know, the only constant in life is change. Everything is always and ever changing. And back to kindness, I will do the soft, gentle kind things for myself. And I will also encourage myself not to wallow in sadness, but to be grateful for all the years I had with both of my kids and for what beautiful young people they are. I will encourage myself to still practice meditation and yoga, to still move my body, to still eat the carrot salad, the kale, the right amount of protein for me. To dance, sing, laugh, and create. To drink tea and wine, tend my garden, to read and write and celebrate life in all its complex, bittersweet, glorious moments. I will be kind to myself.

What is kindness looking like to you today?

Friday Favorites April 28 ’23 Edition

Here is my weekly dose of inspiration…enjoy!


Maneskin’s newest album RUSH for when you want to jam to that 90s pop/alt rock sound.

This album for Beltane:Songs for the Green Time, because May Day/Beltane is on Monday.


Prayers of Honoring Grief by Pixie Lighthorse is a collection of sensitive and heartful prayers, reflection questions, and suggestions for processing grief with the aid of the four directions. If you’re in a season of grief or know someone who is, this would make a beautiful gift.

Tears of the Giraffe (No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Book #2) by Alexander McCall Smith is one of my favorites of the earlier books in the series. There are several intriguing cases for Mma Ramotswe to solve, and things to put right. And she always does. As always, if you haven’t given this series a try yet, please do!


What Should I Read Next Episode 377: What NOT to read next is a good episode for you if you have a lot of unread books on your bookshelf. Yes, I’m outing myself. I have quite a few unread books on my shelves, although I still want to read most of them.


Rachelle Kearns is a favorite artist of mine. I share her work from time to time. She paints all those circles–do you know who I mean? Anyway, she has a new print in the Mercyscape series called ‘Mercyscape’ – from dust that is so magical and glorious I can’t stop thinking about it.

Flower Essences:

Another flower essence I use to help me with setting intentions, connecting to my intuition and having more clarity is Queen Anne’s Lace Flower Essence. It’s actually part of the Full Moon Diffuser, Flower Essence & Crystals set.


If you are restless, if you are not able to sit peacefully and with stability, it is because you are not established in the now. Restlessness is the disease of our times, and the more we try to fill it with the consumption of things…the more the emptiness grows and the more restless we beome. We should remind each other that the now is the only thing that is solid and real. – Thich Nhat Hanh

The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our lives and our relationships. –T.K.V. Desikachar

Ok that’s a wrap! Let me know what you thought of this week’s inspo and have a great weekend. If you want the complete Friday Favorites list, join my Patreon “At the Well” tier.

Friday Favorites, April 21 ’23 Edition

This week I have a recipe, music, art, podcasts, books, aromatherapy, and a quote to share with you as inspiration. Enjoy!!!


My husband makes this meal at least twice a month: Almond Butter Tofu Stir-Fry. Delicious crispy tofu and green beans in a spicy, flavorful sauce over rice. It’s so so good!!


Starling Arrow is a five-woman acapella, spirit-folk group and their music is full of ethereal harmonies and lyrics, yet gutsy and powerful as well. I don’t like sad music and even though several songs are quieter and peaceful, there isn’t a real melancholic feel that makes me want to sob. You have to listen to them if you haven’t already. Cradle is their latest release and I’ve listened to it for three days straight and wish they were coming to Ithaca!


Loré Pemberton’s art calls me back to a quiet, slower, simpler pace with her folk-style paintings.


Business Made Simple with Donald Miller: The Secrets to Self-Discipline and Habit Formation In this episode, Don has a conversation with Craig Groeschel about discipline and habits. One thing Craig said that stood out to me is that we are disciplined in something, even if we often say to ourselves, “I wish I had more discipline.” We can be disciplined at the wrong things, such as sleeping in each morning instead of getting up and working out, or eating too many snacks each night, or whatever. We just need to direct that power to choose something over and over into an area of life we need it in.

Marketing with Brendon Burchard: Everything You Need to Know About Publishing I found this episode so informative, as someone who wants to publish books. He covers self-publishing, distribution, and traditional publishing and talks about the pros and cons of each. I loved it and recommend it if you want to publish a book too!


The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith on Audible. Are you familiar with this mystery series? It’s a comforting collection to me that I listen to over and over. The earlier half of the series are the ones I like best. In this one, Mma Makutsi starts a new business and Mma Ramotswe solves a case of a cheating husband. All the regular characters, Mr. JLB Matakoni, Mma Potakwani, and the useless apprentices make appearances. It’s a feel-good series that I highly recommend.

Bleeding Heart Yard by Elly Griffiths. This was the third Harbinder Kaur mystery novel I’ve read and it was pretty good. If you like her character, a lesbian of Indian descent, and a Sikh, you’ll enjoy seeing what happens to her next. I’m not giving anything away by saying she is now working in London. It’s not as much a favorite as some other detective series, but it’s worth continuing with if you like British mysteries.


Delicata House WomanKind Blend: This is my own blend of Clary Sage, Patchouli, Lavender, and Cardamom. I use it for pms/period related symptoms like feeling irritable, down, tired, or stressed. And I also use it when I want some extra nurturing. It’s a gorgeous floral, spicy, sensual, herbaceous blend and one of my hands-down favorite blends.

Delicata House New Moon Blend: Another one of my own blends that I used to bring in some magic for this week’s New Moon Gathering on Zoom. (I hope you come to next month’s 5/18 zoom New Moon Gathering!) Anyway this blend contains White Spruce, Lavender, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Frankincense Sacra, four potent and powerful essential oils. It is all at once heady and expansive, clarifying and grounding. Get ready to plant seeds of intention with the new moon…or use it anytime you want to start or re-start. Diffuse this blend for new beginnings of any kind or for spiritual practices or rituals.


(I’m not going to add anything to these words. Just let them soak into you.)

To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life. – Victor Hugo

I hope you find some good inspiration and pass it on!

If you’d like to find out my complete Friday Favorites list, join my Patreon at the Kindred Spirits Literary Society tier or higher. That’s where I share it all.

xo Kim

Friday Favorites, April 14 ’23 Edition

On Fridays, I like to look back over the week at what inspired, encouraged or challenged me. My favorites can be podcasts, books, music, tv shows/films, art, quotes, Nature, or experiences. Enjoy!


Motivation by Brendon Burchard:

5 Daily Practices of All Leaders If you consider yourself a leader, here are the tips for how to keep yourself at your best, with your cup filled so you can encourage and serve your community.

For the Wild: An Anthology of the Anthropocene:

Rosemary Gladstar on Thriving While Planted Anything with Rosemary Gladstar in it is sure to be uplifting and connect us to the plants. Rosemary is considered the godmother of modern Western herbalism. She has a practical, wise outlook on life and about interacting and working with plants. What she says in this episode about the healing plants that move in after land has been disturbed is magical. I never thought about them quite that way. If you’re interested in herbalism, you will enjoy this episode.


Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus is a novel that stands apart from so many. Set in the mid-1950s-1960s, it’s about chemist and mother, Elizabeth Zott. She is a singular character–very straightforward, smart, and in love with chemistry. After she fails to get her PhD because of the misogynistic men in the chemistry department, she finds work at a local chemistry lab. There she meets Calvin, a savant who, since he’s a man, has no problem advancing his career. They meet and fall in love.

Fast forward several years to when Elizabeth is now a mother, a freelance chemist, and desperate for more income. She unexpectedly lands a job as host of Supper at Six, an afternoon tv cooking show for women. Using all her chemistry terminology as she cooks, and connecting it with life lessons, Elizabeth soon has a cult following of women all over the country. She’s famous, but she doesn’t want to be. She still wants to be a chemist. You have to read it to find out how it ends!

TV Shows

Whitstable Pearl, Series 2: I love how different and unexpected parts of life will interconnect, how themes will come up once you begin to put attention on something. I’ve been reading Katherine May’s new book Enchantment, and was enamored with her description of Whitstable, the English town where she lives, especially the sea where she likes to swim.

Then I saw that season 2 of Whitstable Pearl was available and dove right in. Being able to see the beach and scenes in the town was fascinating and helped me to appreciate Katherine May’s writing even more. I also enjoyed the mysteries in this series for themselves, which were not all murders. And one of the episodes is a take on the Hitchcock classic Rear Window and I was captivated. It does deal with the grief and loss and in a realistic, poignant way that anyone dealing with loss will understand.

Side note: I have a few Whitstable Pearl books on my Kindle that I haven’t read yet, so they are moving up on my TBR list.

For the complete list, check out my Patreon at the Kindred Spirits Literary Society tier or higher.

Friday Favorites (2/24/23)

Here are a few of my favorite sources of inspiration and learning from the past week or so. Enjoy!

Podcasts: As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been listening to Brendon Burchard’s Motivation podcast. It has helped pull me out of the doldrums and rekindle my vision for my business, my relationships, and my every day life. He’s a bit “Energizer Bunny”, which you might expect from a motivational speaker. I highly respect him though because he’s built six multi-million dollar companies with the personal growth, mindset, and business acumen that he shares on both his Motivation and Marketing Podcasts.

If you’re a business owner or simply trying to uplevel in any area of your life, give Brendon’s podcasts a try! Yes, you’ll definitely pick up on that masculine energy, although he preaches rest, relaxation, and refueling as well as focus, scheduling, and simple hard work.

Books: This week I read The Vibrant Years by Sonali Dev and was absorbed into the story from page one. It unfolds the story of Bindu, a sixty-something grandmother, as well as her forty-something daughter-in-law and granddaughter Cullie. These three women, at different times in their lives, are discovering who they are at their various ages, healing from past hurts, falling in love, and certainly not living by societal standards. It’s exciting, heartwarming, and all I’ll say is it ends on a positive note. I need this kind of book in my life.

I’m reading The Joy and Light Bus Company from Alexander McCall Smith. If you’ve never tried The Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series, I recommend them so highly! I’ve been reading and re-reading these (on Audible only) for years. I love the slow pace, the characters that return in each book, the soft and witty humor, the conundrums and mysteries they work through and solve, the accents, the bush tea drinking. This is Book 22 and the next one in the series is in my Audible queue waiting to be read. They are delightful.

Essential oil blend: I am blowing my own trumpet here. Recently I filled some new bottles of my Winter Wellness Diffuser Blend, and said, “This blend smells so good!” And it’s very helpful for supporting respiratory health, decongesting stuffy noses, as a cough suppressant, and to boost immune strength. I’ve been using it in my bedroom diffuser at night to help keep my nose clear. It works!

That’s all for this week, friends! I hope you check some of these favorites out and let me know if you do. (For the full list including poetry, exercise, music, and more books, join my Patreon at the Literary Society Tier or higher.)

Be well,


What Is Saving My Life Right Now (January 2023)

Now that we are more than halfway through January, here’s a list of 5 things that are inspiring, delighting, and sustaining me so far this month. (The phrase “what is saving my life right now” originates from author Barbara Brown Taylor.)

Art by Molly Costello: Molly is a Chicago-based artist I discovered on Instagram. Their uplifting messages are what drew me in, so I purchased Molly’s “Fertile Futures: Practicing the World We Want” wall calendar. It came Thursday and it’s next to my desk. See Molly’s work on Instagram.

The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante: I watched the film “The Lost Daughter” last year, which is based on Ferrante’s novel of the same name. I wanted to read her books after that. These books have a very different, VERY Italian feel. Lots of melodrama: violence, screaming, shouting, death, poverty and wealth, and a unique, raw, emotional and intelligent story of a woman’s experience of life in Naples and other parts of Italy. I’m on the third novel, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay. These books are so captivating it’s really hard for me to put them down and go to sleep each night.

Vadham Saffron Premium Masala Chai: Although I am still a coffee lover, I’ve had to switch to tea and my “uncoffee” chicory/dandelion/cacao alternative because coffee seems to be affecting my dry eye condition. So unfair! Anyway, a friend gave me a sample of Vadham Saffron Chai last summer and I finally tried it before Christmas. It is heavenly and I am a Vadham devotee now. If you like chai, you will LOVE Saffron Chai. Get it here.

Music: Can I admit to still listening to the occasional Christmas choral piece, even in the middle of January? In the evenings, when the fairy lights twinkle and candles are flickering, and I’m beavering away at my desk, I love to hear these dearly loved songs rising and falling in the background. Spotify has this Christmas Market Playlist that I’ve played more than once

Lunica Planner from Woodspell Apothecary. When I saw this planner on Instagram in the fall, I asked Alan to get it for me for Christmas. And I’m so glad I did. There’s a phenology wheel, space for garden notes, a section for monthly plant study, rituals and recipes, and more. I hope the owner keeps these planners coming, because they’re just perfect for a lover of seasonal living/herbs/plants/lunar cycles and more.

If you’d like to read the full list, I invite you to become a patron in the “At the Well” Tier over on Patreon.

Making Space for Beauty

While on a solo retreat this fall, I had leisurely days and evenings to reflect on what in my life needs to be adjusted and what I’d like to remain the same. This was my first solo retreat ever and it felt luxurious to wake, exercise, eat, and rest whenever I wanted. Being an Enneagram 4, an INFJ, and an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), I feel so relaxed with my own company and at ease in the simplicity of being on my own. I love all my people, my work, and my cats too much to live that way for long, so I’ll just savor the memories of that time and plan more for the future.

As I was eating my breakfast on the second morning, I listened to Krista Tippett’s podcast On Being for the first time in months. And I realized how much I missed these deep, quiet, thoughtful conversations that feed my thirst for beauty, wisdom, and inspiring words.

Then I began thinking about what else I had let go in the hustle and activity of this year. Poetry! I like to read some every day if I can, and listen to poetry podcasts like Poetry Unbound. Poetry speaks to my soul and feels like it touches a part of myself that nothing else does.

Another delight I had let go of is classical music! I used to listen to public radio all the time, take CDs out from the library (remember those?), and listen to albums on Spotify.

Lately I haven’t included Bach with my breakfasts, I haven’t made time for Mozart, I haven’t enjoyed string quartets or piano sonatas on quiet afternoons. And why not? I ask myself. It’s not complicated to turn music on. I’ve robbed myself of the opportunity for so much pleasure because I “needed to get this work done” and assumed I must take all the color out of life. Well, no more!

I resolved to include lovely music in my days, work or not; to listen to inspiring podcasts like On Being while I’m in the car or cleaning or folding clothes; to make time for at least one poem every day; to set the table with cloth napkins and a vase of flowers or herbs, to light candles even for weeknight dinners. There are many more weeknights than there are weekends!

By depriving ourselves, or even not actively noticing or making room for beauty, it’s almost like living in the dull, gray, unhappy part of Middle Earth that Sauron created in Lord of the Rings: devoid of warmth, color, meaning, and delight.

When I live this way for too many days, I find myself easily irritated or angry, depressed, anxious, and discouraged, thinking there’s nothing to look forward to.And how brief and precious each of our lives are. This year has brought several too-soon goodbyes.

We are made for beauty, delight, goodness, and meaning. Even if we’ve forgotten, even if we’ve fallen asleep or become buried under our to-do lists and the pressures that grown-ups have to deal with, each of us longs for beauty.

Perhaps it’s not possible for you to go away on a solo retreat just now. I remember all the years I craved alone time as a mother with two small children and a host of responsibilities connected to my church community. I would stay up late just so I could have a few hours of quiet after the kids went to bed.

It’s more realistic to look for an hour or two of quiet time alone to ask yourself what is missing from the current flow of your days. What brings you pleasure and joy that you could invite back in? A walk in the forest? A pot of flowers on the windowsill? Your grandmother’s tablecloth? Candlelight? A really good mystery novel? Soup simmering on the stove? Homemade bread? Composing music or listening to a favorite recording? Taking five minutes to appreciate the sunset each evening? Dancing in the kitchen?

You will know what you need, what will delight, inspire and bring a sense of beauty and meaning to your own life. Invite what feeds your soul back into your weekdays, your weeknights, and the so-called mundane will begin to sparkle and shine again as it did when you were a child.

These days of Advent, these ever darkening days and long nights before the Winter Solstice, are a natural time to turn inward, to ponder, and ask, and sit with questions. And to begin to intend and invite what we love and desire most of all into our lives, and into the New Year.

May you enjoy a peaceful Sunday!

Fourth Day of Christmas

Reader friends, a most joyous of winter holiday celebrations to you, if you celebrate any, and good wishes for a happy, healthy, prosperous new year.

This year, I celebrated the Winter Solstice/Yule for the first time with my daughter and husband. It was a simple, homespun evening baking, cooking, making mulled wine (another first), setting the table with fresh evergreens, crystals, and a beeswax candle, the reading of a David Whyte poem, and a fire in the cold, wild, and windy night. It was such a beautiful start to a new tradition.

Ella & me on Solstice night

And now, after a fleeting Advent season, we are celebrating the twelve days of Christmas, another tradition I’m building upon each year. I didn’t know till I was in my thirties that the twelve days of Christmas, now relegated to the song by the same title, is a long-forgotten but rich tradition that allowed the magic, joy, and wonder to ring out for a dozen days and nights. At the end of which is a twelfth night celebration, and then the Feast of the Epiphany or Three Kings Day.

I love these twelve days between the old year and then the first few of the new. We usually spend them quietly, with Christmas carols playing in the background, candles, trees, fresh greens, fairy lights, good food and drink, books, puzzles, favorite films, and creative pursuits. Yule, which predates Christmas, overlaps part of the twelve days, so as I learn more, I incorporate more delightful merriment into the season.

Whether you have children at home, adults, or you live by yourself, I encourage you to seek out beautiful traditions that are meaningful to you. They can add a depth, a richness to your daily life, to your years. They’re worth the work, the planning, and the extra-ness because you will look forward to the splendor, the enchanted, transformative quality of the traditions you choose to call your own.

I’d love to hear about your winter traditions and celebrations, wherever you are in the world.

Weekly Wrap-Up

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Hello, readers, and happy August Saturday to you! May you savor the day, move a little more slowly, and find a way to live toward more ease. These are intentions I have set for myself that I want to extend to you.

In case you missed the blog posts from this week…

On Monday, I shared the review of The Temple House Vanishing by Rachel Donohue. (I am ordering her newest novel, The Beauty of Impossible Things, from the UK because it’s not out in the US yet.)

On Tuesday, I blogged about the new novel We Are The Brennans by Tracey Lange published by Celadon Books.

On Wednesday, I talked tinctures and shared my super simple herbal tincture recipe.

And on Friday, in the For Your Weekend blog post, I gathered some weekly podcast, book, and visual inspiration to share with you.

Have a lovely Saturday!

For Your Weekend

This August morning is one of the magical kind, that makes me wish I was taking the day off to spend at a beach or on a new trail in a forest. The colors outside are a perfect balance of blue sky, green landscape, and golden sunlight.

I may not be on holiday today, but I will enjoy quiet moments in the garden, picking a few flowers (if the bees will let me.) I’ll make some herbal sun tea and hang laundry on the clothesline. And perhaps Alan and I will drive down to Seneca Lake to eat our dinner and walk along the water’s edge.

It’s been a while since I shared weekly sources of inspiration, learning, or enjoyment, but I’m picking back up with a few of my favorites.


What Could Possibly Go Right?: Conversations With Cultural Scouts Podcast with Vicki Robin (author of Blessing the Hands That Feed Us: Lessons From a 10-Mile Diet and other books) is one I’ve been listening to since its inception last year.

Episode #50 with Katharine Wilkinson “Making Our Hearts Public in Climate Conversation” discussed allowing our emotions to be present when we talk about the climate crisis.

The Goal Digger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher: This week I needed some entrepreneurial inspiration (AKA a kick in the pants business-wise). Yes, Jenna is bubbly and always sounds a bit extra, but she is a super smart entrepreneur with a seven-figure business. Here are two I listened to this week:

What You ACTUALLY Need to Do Before Leaving Your 9 to 5

The Quick-Start Guide to Content Creation and Promotion


I’m currently reading the captivating Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit by Lyanda Haupt which has flavors of one of my favorite books: <a href="http://Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants“>Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. When I finish Rooted, I’ll blog more about it.

Yesterday I finished reading The Heron’s Cry (Two Rivers Series) by Ann Cleeves. If you’re a mystery lover, you’ve probably read the Vera Stanhope series and Shetland series and possibly seen both series on tv. The Two Rivers series features DI Matthew Venn, who lives near the sea’s edge with his husband, Jonathan, who runs The Woodyard, a local non-profit that supports both differently-abled people and artists. They’re a fascinating pair, along with Jen Rafferty, the detective on Venn’s team. And the mystery aspect is very satisfying as well. More about this book in an upcoming post. Publishing date is September 7th.

I’m also reading People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry. This is a bright, upbeat novel that so far seems to be about two friends who are figuring out whether they want to just be friends or if they’re in love with each other. The protagonist, Poppy, is a travel writer who works for R+R, a popular travel magazine. She’s best friends with an Instagram influencer and, yes, she gets to travel around to different locations. I love the travel aspect, as I am most likely staying close to home for the rest of this year, anyway. More on this book when I finish it.

Visual Art

Jonna Jinton is a Swedish artist/musician/videographer and more. Her Youtube videos are stunning vlogs of her life in Northern Sweden: the landscape, the music, the close-to-nature lifestyle, her latest creative projects, and more.

Here’s a video I watched last week: Summer in the North

My Garden

Even though I haven’t had as much time as I hoped to spend weeding and planting this summer, the flowers and vegetables are abundant. To hear the humming of dozens of bees collecting pollen from the flowers makes me so happy. It feels good to know I provided some food for these valuable pollinators in the middle of the neighboring GMO cornfields that surround us. I’ve scattered the photos in this post.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!