Happy Mother’s Day!

Last year my mom and I took a little mother daughter trip to Tahoe.
It was Mom’s first time to see the big beautiful lake in a mountain bowl. A room with a view and balcony worked for both of us.

Mother's Day Gratitude at LisaNalbone.com
Tahoe getaway with Mama and Dr. Uke

 When mom was tuckered she could cool off and relax,  but still see the water.

I could cool off and relax, too. It has been so wonderful that my new relationship with Dr. Uke has been great for my relationship with my mom. She seems to enjoy my playing and singing.

Plus it brings  her back good memories of her mom who played banjo and ukulele.  Granny even played her uke and sang on an old time radio show, Major Bowes Amateur Hour.

Dr. Uke on Lake Tahoe balcony. Amazing Grace at LisaNalbone.comAmazing Grace.  Gratitude.

Wishing you some amazing grace and gratitude as you celebrate with or remember your mom.

Winters Youth Day Parade – Community- Creativity-Celebration-Tradition!

Lisa and son Dale Stephens with Dad, Pierre in background
Youth Day family Reunion

On the last Saturday of April the town of Winters  has a wonderful tradition of celebrating our youth, our community and our commitment to come together to make our town a better place.

The parade has been around for 70+ years and is amazing.  There is  a kiddie parade followed by floats, bands, marching units, horses, dancers, pets, moms on mopeds, moms off mopeds, local celebrities and honorees.  Many families help their children get from one entry to another so the child  can participate with each of their groups. It is not uncommon to see folks racing back along the parade route, changing costumes, and volunteering along the way.

My favorite part, of course, is the Winters Friends of the Library  Marching Unit. Various members of the Winters Friends of the Library and friends organized by fearless leaders, Sally Brown and Keith Cary, select music, brainstorm about the theme, coordinate costumes, practices and frivolity as well as support for our community library.

We also gather with friends and family to catch up, share food, laughter and love.


Some people are so moved by the good energy they just can’t sit still!

Maybe you will be moved to join us next year.

What traditions do you have in your community?



Tip #10 for Raising a Thiel Fellow: Gratitude


Dale Stephens as a child in awe opening gift, Thiel Tip #10 Gratitude at www.LisaNalbone.comGratitude.


Feel it.

Show it.

Express it.

Pass it on.

We all feel better when WE feel appreciated.

We also are happier and more productive when we are feeling appreciation and gratitude for others and expressing it.

Being able to see the good in your circumstances, whatever they may be, is a really healthy, energizing ability.

Feeling the love and letting others know creates more good energy.


Help your child look for the gifts in your life and honor them.

Make sure you express your appreciation early and often.


I always ended my day in the classroom gathering my students in a circle and expressing appreciations before they were excused. At the beginning of the year I went around the circle telling each student something specific that I appreciated about them that day. Every Friday I would ask students to tell me what they appreciated that week. That habit of gratitude transformed my students, me and the community of learning we formed.

From the time Dale was a toddler we wrote thank you notes for gifts, acts of kindness, or special dinners at friends. We modeled writing notes, wrote them to him, and had him do the writing even when it was scribbles.

We liked to talk about what we were thankful for each day at dinner or bedtime. Ending the day with gratitude is good for health and spirit.

Get Started:

  •  Model expressing appreciation in your family and to others.
  •  Write thank you notes and letters, not just emails, with your kids.
  •  Start a gratitude journal- as a family or as individuals.
  •  Start a daily gratitude practice. Find time in the day that works for your family.


Book Review: Far From the Tree: Parents Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon

962 Pages. 3 pounds. Truly, I wish I’d gotten the kindle edition.

The size and weight of the print book prevented me from carrying it along at all times which really slowed my reading. The ideas were at least as heavy as the  book.

It was painful. Heartwarming. Tragic. Hopeful. Agony. Thought-provoking. Fraught.


Not an antidote to insomnia.

Every time Pierre would catch me reading I would be in tears.

This is a book I wish most parents would read even before having children.

I wonder, though, if you can grok this book in the same way if you are not a parent.


I would love to discuss it with my adult son.

The research and discussion of vertical identities – where you are like your parents or where you come from versus horizontal identities – how you are that is different from parents but where you can find others with your experience is fascinating.

Solomon looks at the categories of deaf, dwarf, down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, disability, prodigies, rape, crime, and  transgender.

How much do we all have a tiny bit of this experience of feeling alien from our parents  or families of origin and needing to find our people?

From www.farfromthetree.com (and maybe a page in the book but I was leery of how long it would take me to find it.)

As the gay child of straight parents, I had a “horizontal identity”—a condition that I shared with a peer group but not with my family of origin. I discovered that there are many such identities; parents are constantly struggling with children who are alien to them in some profound way. Though individual differences can be isolating, the fact of difference is nearly universal.

Almost any characteristic can be experienced as an identity or an illness, and it is our human limitation not to be able to hold both points of view in mind at once. If we strive to do so, however, we may discover that while individual differences are lonely, the fact of difference is common to most of humanity. The families I studied ended up grateful for lives they would have done anything to avoid.


Book Review of Far Fromthe Tree by Andrew Solomon at LisaNalbone.comDepending on your circumstances it might make you feel like you have had it pretty darn easy, or maybe help you feel not crazy since there are others dealing with similar issues.

 on page 6  

 To look deeply into your child’s eyes and see in him both yourself and something utterly strange, and then develop a zealous attachment to every aspect of him, is to achieve parenthood’s self-regarding yet unselfish abandon. It is astonishing often such a mutuality has been realized-how frequently parents who had supposed that they couldn’t care for an exceptional child discover that they can. The parental predisposition to love prevails in the most harrowing of circumstances. There is more imagination in the world than one might think.

In all these instances, Solomon addresses the challenge of acceptance as well as the danger of denial of difference and the implications for the individual and our culture.

I am going to keep looking at andrewsolomon.com  to keep posted on when he may be speaking nearby.

The Far from the Tree website and FB page look like great places to take the conversation further.

But first, read the book.


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Thanks, Lisa.