10 Lessons Learned From My President

Each President of the United States leaves a legacy. As President Barack Obama enters the last week of his tenure in the White House, his legacy is only just beginning to show itself. But I can say with confidence that these 10 lessons are takeaways that will endure:

10. Never lose hope.

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9. Reading is essential for opening your mind, expanding your worldview, and giving you the depth and breadth to handle an infinite number of situations.

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8. The umbrella is big enough to fit everyone under it.

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7. Grit and resilience are keys to success, whatever you do.

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6. Kindness and respect never go out of style.

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5. Do not be afraid to show your emotions … even if it means crying sometimes.

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4. There are different perspectives to most issues … work hard to understand each one.

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3. Maintain your sense of humor, even under the most trying of times.

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2. Raising your children is one of the most important jobs you will ever have in life. Never lose sight of that.

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And since, as the saying goes, behind every great man there is a great woman … and better yet in this case, beside every great man there is a great woman ….

  1. When they go low, you must go high.

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Thank you, Mr. President and Mrs. Obama.  You have honored the White House and our country with your grace and vision these past eight years.  You will be missed.  Let us return the favor by continuing to stand up for what is right, and doing it with respect and an openness to truly trying to understand all sides of the issues.  We have more in common than not; it is in our best interests to continue and try to move forward together, no matter how difficult and arduous it may be … while at the same time not letting our guard down and failing to speak out against injustice, inequity, and matters that harm the greater good.

Yes, we can. Yes, we did. And, yes, we will again.

~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Anticipation 

Despite it being long past when I should have been in bed on a “school night”, I grabbed some quiet reflection time after decorating the tree earlier in the evening. Glass of prosecco in hand, Christmas music streaming on my phone, and the lights of the tree blinking peacefully in the dark of the midnight hour.

People everywhere wait in anticipation …. for Christmas less than a week away, for the start of Hanukkah which coincides with Christmas Day, for time with family and friends ….

And others wait in anticipation for matters less joyful … the end of war, the opportunity to flee a besieged city ….

May all men, women, and children around the world see a holiday season of peace that carries into the new year.

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. “Anticipation” is this week’s theme. Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here: Anticipation.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relax 

After some holiday shopping, how do you spell R-E-L-A-X?  A little cheese and charcuterie …. with a side of hand-crafted cocktails from Vikre, Duluth’s local distillery (Juniper Gin and Tonic on the left, and Spruce Gin Gimlet on the right).

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. “Relax” is this week’s theme. Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here: Relax.

 

The Importance of Holiday Magic

This year, even more than ever, we are in need of finding the magic of the holidays … that magic that helps bridge divides, smooths strained relations, allows people to set aside differences to share in the beauty of the season.

Even without snow on the ground, and the second warmest November on record, Duluth’s Bentleyville is just the place to go to kindle the often-nostalgic feelings that accompany the December holiday season.

Whether you are 2, or 20, or 20 times 4, joy fills the air as you walk through the arches of light, as Christmas classics play over the speakers.  Donations and sponsorships support the free cookies, popcorn, hot cocoa, and fire pits for roasting marshmallows! People from all walks of life come together to watch the lights dance on the 128 foot tall Christmas tree, wait patiently to talk to Santa or Mrs. Claus, or pause for one of the many photo ops.

The year-round evening illumination of Duluth’s lift bridge glows across the bay, taking a back seat to this seasonal festival of lights.

The meandering lit paths give many opportunities to reflect and be grateful — whether wandering with friends, with family, or taking time for solitary reflection. Give thanks for good health, for a roof over our heads, for love, for community. Bentleyville gives a nod to our troops, as well, with Duluth’s own 148th Fighter Wing garnering a special spot in the display.

If only for an evening, let the “Tour of Lights” push the stress and anxiety of the world’s issues to the side … Embrace the magic of the season.

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. “It’s Not This Time of Year Without…” is this week’s theme. Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here: It’s Not This Time of Year Without ….

Kat’s Weekly Reflection of Gratitude: The Privilege of Voting

The sentiment about exercising your right to vote is timeless. Today is the day if you haven’t already … vote, and make your voice heard. I believe love can trump hate, and I hope kindness and our American tradition of inclusiveness will prevail.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Travel. Garden. Eat.

One of the only blessings coming from Hurricane Sandy is a brief respite from the usual tenor of political campaigns at this juncture, with the election for President of the United States now only a few days away.  Other important offices, at the federal, state and local levels, are up for grabs in this election, as well.  In many states, important constitutional amendment questions are posed to the electorate, in some cases asking the populace to forever determine constitutional rights of others in our society.

Whatever your political affiliation — whether you swing left or right, red or blue, or like many, somewhere in the middle — spend the next few days educating yourself on the candidates and the issues that are going to present themselves on your ballot.  Really educate yourselves . . . I am not talking about reviewing the latest Facebook updates, tweets on Twitter or, as entertaining as it…

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