March 2004

Dear Friend

I hope February, the month of love, was tender, sweet and full of surprises. We began the month the last day of the Happiness Weekend in Stonington Village, Connecticut. What a relaxed day visiting with new friends, sitting by warm fires, sipping hot chocolate. Everyone came as strangers and left as friends.

I’ve received wonderful letters from the people who traveled great distances – a few lines from an E-mail from Deborah, who came with her sister Laura from Indiana:

Dear Alexandra:
I had an absolutely WONDERFUL, uplifting, and spiritually enlightening weekend with you and Peter and our lovely group in Stonington this last weekend! Thank you so much for your graciousness and hospitality.

One couple who were taking a late afternoon flight back to Houston offered to help us shovel snow from our sidewalk. The young man who usually does this for us hurt his back. We put on our boots, sprinkled some salt and chipped away at the ice as the sun’s heat melted everything. We took turns using the shovel, enjoying the exhilaration from physical exertion in the crisp sea air. That happy weekend began a great month for us and I hope for you.

Denver Retreat – Positive Choices

Peter and I flew to Denver, Colorado, where I gave a talk at a retreat for the senior high school class at a private co-ed high school. This was a joyful experience for me to discuss the positive choices they can make as they go off to college. We ended up singing, sharing stories and I read some favorite passages from Grace Notes.

How did I end up at this retreat in Denver? An English teacher came to a talk I gave at The Tattered Cover bookstore in 1989 and he’s been using my book in his classes. Each day he opens up to the current date and says, “Let’s see what Ms. Stoddard has to say today …”

One of the students in Mr. Oliver’s class raised his hand at the retreat: “Ms. Stoddard, I know Mr. Oliver would love to have a beer with you while you’re in Denver.” So cute. We arranged to go to an Italian restaurant where we did enjoy a visit after the retreat was over. Thank you, Bill Oliver. You created a great experience for me!

A dear friend had a tea party in my honor at the famous Brown Palace Hotel. For four hours we sipped tea and talked enthusiastically. I read the Foreword of my new book, Things I Want My Daughters to Know.

We spent some time in Washington, DC, visiting our grandchildren – Nicholas, Anna and Lily. Their love of life, their sweetness, brings us true lasting happiness. Walking their golden retriever dog, “Carter,” while pushing the triple stroller is a thrill … as well as a work out.

Memphis Antique, Garden and Gourmet Event

We ended February in Memphis, where I spoke on happiness at an antique, garden and gourmet gala. Putting my slides together before I give a talk is a form of meditation for me. I’m looking at beautiful gardens, houses, table settings, art and antiques. I’m passionately aware that central to our happiness is an environment that uplifts our spirit. When we surround ourselves with objects we love, we feel grace, light and joy.

Things I Want My Daughters to Know is in production. It will be in bookstores in September 2004. There will be two daffodils on the cover, facing each other as though in conversation. I’m excited. As I work on my current manuscript, Time Alive, I’m also doing some decorating, reminding me each day how deeply you care about your home – how it feels to you, how it looks, how satisfying it is to spend quality time in your rooms.

Can you believe April is around the corner? I see snow drops peeking out of snow drifts. We’ve enjoyed daffodils these past weeks to remind us that the days are lighter as we march toward spring!

Enjoy this new month. Let your time to focused and productive. I know I will see many friends in the weeks ahead as I’m traveling to give talks. Please come see me if you’re nearby and bring friends.

Love & Live Happy

Book Sale

Last month I mentioned that I have a limited number of damaged books:

  • The Post Card as Art
  • Making Choices
  • Style for Living
  • Gracious Living

Let me know which ones you are interested in at 50% off. We'll let you know if they're still available.

Alexandra signs a book for Mary from Houston while at the cottage on Sunday, February 1, 2004.

Weekend with Alexandra

Peter names David Mark of Houston "Alexander the Great!"

Weekend with Alexandra

Bebe Brown Stetson (center) sparks a some kitchen chat.
Laura, Carol, Bebe, Carol, and June

Glorious sunset shot from the terrace at the Stonington Inn. Photo taken by Mary.

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.

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

A Note about Roger Muhl,
My Favorite Artist.

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.

A New Look!

Living a Beautiful Life has a new cover. A memorable book to read, to have and to hold. This book has sold a million copies in hardcover. Now available. The new cover shows a tea celebration in Alexandra's charming cottage kitchen. Hardback $25.00 plus $5.00 s/h. Please send book orders and checks for this book to 87 Water Street, Stonington, CT 06378.

Grace Note

Look for the good. Find positive meaning in the present experience.