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Image by Joshua Hoehne

Have a fun 50's Party at home!

a magical mixture for a meaningful life

Edited by Gena Martine Santoni

Sharing the Love

The ancient Greek’s had many words for love.  (My favorite is agápe - something the world could use more of right now.)  We, too, have many words describing the nuances of love.  Romance, affection, appreciation, and gratitude, among them. All different sizes, shapes and colors of love. We can feel red hot passion for a person - or for our career or calling. We feel the rosy glow of appreciation for the friend who sends us a kind note or a bouquet of flowers. We feel a lovely burst of gratitude for the stranger who helped us by holding the door open while our hands were full. It’s about noticing and connecting, listening and seeing. Acts of love, however large or small, show that we matter to others and that they matter to us.  


At Cotillion the bedrock of our message is to pay attention to how we affect others and strive to have the most positive impact we can. If this is our goal then we are more inclined toward kindness, respect and empathy. We are empowered to make the world a better place through our actions, words and presence.


Occasions like Valentine’s Day give us the opportunity to make a thoughtful gift of our love and appreciation. That special date on the calendar encourages us to put the focus on giving and to be inspired to think of ways to uplift those special someones in our lives. Whether a valentine hand delivered or sent half way around the world, a single pink rose offered to a cherished daughter or a dozen crimson flowers given from the heart, these seemingly small things make a tremendous impact in the moment. Such acts of appreciation, love and attention say, I see you, you matter, you are precious to me. They are special and so make the recipient feel special.  Whether offering a smile to a stranger or a box of chocolates to a friend, these opportunities to show someone matters is what love is all about any day of the year.     •GMS

A Lesson in Fun

How games can help children learn important life skills.


In our current environment dominated by distance learning and cell phones, children certainly don’t need more screen time. They do, however, need activities that require personal interaction. After a long day working and learning, playing provides a great release and also offers a natural way to practice many important people skills.


Using games to teach is a time-tested method that works. The added benefit is that games make learning fun! Remember Monopoly? Clue? Bingo? Cards? These are some of the games we all grew up with and whether or not we realized it at the time, we actually learned a great deal from them. Children learn math when they count their moves and when they keep score. They learn how to take turns and develop patience.  They learn to think strategically. They learn they can’t always win, and most importantly, they get to make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and try again.


In-person games also offer an opportunity to develop honesty and cooperation. Games require rules and in order for the game to be successful, everyone must follow the same rules. Unlike video games, in which the rules are automatically enforced by some omnipotent, behind-the-scenes “gamekeeper”, in-person games place the onus on the individual to have the self-discipline and integrity to require rule following of themselves - a very important part of developing good character.

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Written by Julie Sweany

Image by Joshua Hoehne

It's just a shoebox ...


Written by Julie Sweany

The Language of Roses

Flowers are a wonderful way to express love and appreciation, and depending on the flowers you choose they can convey a special message of their own. In the language of flowers, a rose is a classic symbol of regard and the variety of colors translate into a spectrum of meanings. In case you're curious, here is a short-and-sweet primer on some of the most common shades and the emotions they are said to convey.










Red - love and passion

Pink - gratitude and appreciation

White - new beginnings and remembrance

Purple - fascination and adoration

Yellow - friendship and caring

Orange - happiness and joy

Image by Anton Mislawsky

private!  Shoeboxes became a room for my dollhouse and a closet for my Barbie clothes.


In February, a shoebox became the extremely important receptacle of Valentines. It was a class project for everyone to decorate their box. I would get my pink and red and white construction paper, scissors, and a bottle of Elmer’s glue. (I hate to date myself, but that was way before glue sticks!) I would carefully fold the paper in half and cut out perfect shaped hearts of every size – then glue them on. We had to put our name on the box, so I would practice my most perfect lettering. Last, I would carefully cut the slit so my classmates could insert their valentines into my box. 

Then I got to work on my Valentines. My mom always bought me a box for the class. I had to read each message and decide who was to get which one. I’m sure I always put way too much meaning into the silly sayings that appeared – but it was, after all, a message from me. I over-valued each message from my classmates in the same way, as so many of us did at that age.

As I grew up and became a parent, the value of the shoebox did not diminish. At some 

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The other day I ordered a pair of walking shoes from Zappo’s. The shoes fit so I put them away in my closet. That left me holding a shoe box.  Since I wasn’t going to use it to store my shoes, I considered throwing it away, but set it aside instead. I’m sure I might need it for something…

When I was young, I remember thinking how valuable a shoebox was. I couldn’t imagine ever throwing one away. It was a place to store treasures. After Christmas, I would carefully place small gifts and money that I had received to keep them safe  –  and

Image by Joshua Hoehne
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