Mary Anne Radmacher and the gift of greatness in every woman

Mary Anne Radmacher, a woman of many talents that speak to many people

Mary Anne Radmacher, a woman of many talents that speak to many people

Mary Anne Radmacher is, with Liz Kalloch, co author of She: A Celebration of Greatness in Every Woman, a gorgeous book in tribute to just that, the greatness in every woman. This book is the result of a wonderful friendship and imaginative partnership of two women who lovingly communicate in a fusion of lyrical words and vibrant pictures. To hear Mary Anne talk about her childhood time in the hospital and the influence that had on her creative spirit is a lesson in what inventive children absorb. To hear her talk about what followed is to learn about possibilities realized. Her personal history with letter writing, not to be missed, is beyond charming. Yes, She: A Celebration of Greatness in Every Woman is a book about women, written and illustrated by women but a book that will hold meaning for men and women alike.

Robin L. Flanigan on her book, climbing Mt.Kilimanjaro and adopting her daughter

Robin L. Flanigan is a freelance writer with a wide variety of experience who knows how to talk about what is important and do it with the kind of honesty that lets others into her personal sphere. She knows that sharing stories is a direct route to helping other people. So she writes essays. And, now a book. Personal narrative non-fiction is her joy and power as you can see from her new book and her adoption story that she retells here (get tissues ready). To hear Robin talk about her writing and how she gets there is a teaching about paying attention to the details that give depth to a life worth sharing.

Robin’s book is a true story about a woman named Bonnie who comes home one night to find that her husband has died. She mourns for 18 months and her decision to move beyond her grief sends her to the summit of the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro, an experience through which she falls in love with one of the climbers. Yes, really. Robin, not just brave enough to conquer personal mountains but to scale them physically as well, was on that same trek and how she came to meet Bonnie.

Stay tuned to hear when this book is out and ready for you to read. To stay in touch with Robin, you can reach her on twitter via  @thekineticpen

Dawn Mittleman sifts through the “stuff” to give you space for living

Dawn Mittleman sifts through the "stuff" to give you space for livingGetting rid of the stuff that is crowding you out of your own living space is sometimes too overwhelming to tackle. Do you need to keep every little collectible? Should you keep that fabulous dress if only it would come back into fashion? Photographs? Your mother’s china? Whether you are downsizing or just trying to get into your own closets or basement, the choices can be too daunting to face alone.

The good news is that you do not have to face it alone. Dawn Mittleman, with patience and without judgment, can walk right into your life of overwhelming jumble to give you space and peace of mind that you thought was either out of reach or buried beneath mounds of litter. To listen to Dawn talk about the art of de-cluttering is reassuring in its own right. Whatever the reason to lesson the amount of material goods in your life, Dawn has her eye on what to keep and what to let go. Love letters? They stay.

Noah Griffin bringing back the elegance of Cole Porter

Noah Griffin and Meredith Browning devoted to musical literacy are bringing a new awareness of Cole Porter.

Noah Griffin and Meredith Browning devoted to musical literacy are bringing a new awareness of Cole Porter.

To say that San Francisco’s Noah Griffin is a singer is to under-explain his status in the entertainment world. He is a performer with the exceptional style and elegance of a sort not so often seen these days. He is also a born educator with a passion for musical literacy and history well taught. His wife Meredith Browning has her own interesting connection to the world of musical theater as well as a talent for launching projects. With this team, lamenting what seems to be a vanishing awareness of the music and thoughtful, well-crafted lyrics of composers of yesteryear went so far, and they decided to do something about it. Noah and Meredith have created The Cole Porter Society with some interesting plans and goals. To listen to Noah and Meredith talk about why they created this society is in itself a musical history lesson. Their love letter plan? Historically charming, and relevant to future generations.

Amena Elaine talent, energy and love everywhere she goes

Amena Elaine talent, energy and love everywhere she goesAmena Elaine is new to San Francisco and brings with her an endless load of talent, energy, contagious enthusiasm, appreciation of everything that surrounds her and beauty. She sings, plays the piano and violin and is a whiz at fashion retail with a strong feel for street style. To see her walk through a room is to be engulfed in the feeling that the world is on the right course. To listen to her talk about her family is a lesson on love. Tip of the iceberg. The youngest of seven children in a multicultural family (French, Haitian and Jamaican), she was loved and pampered by her siblings, taught the value of hard work and family devotion by the example of her ER nurse father and her joyful mother and raised to be independent and at home everywhere she goes. Her love letter? Plural I hope. Mother, father, siblings and the grandmother whose fashion sense she has.

Jane Storeseter on rising to the unexpected life-changing challenges of motherhood

Jane StoreseterIn preparing for motherhood, it seems the best you can do is prepare for what you think it will be. What it will actually be, you will learn with the birth of each baby. And, each one, as you may already know, will come into this world with his or her ever-changing unique physical and emotional needs.

Jane Storeseter, mother of four, knows what it takes to raise a child who has been struck with a life changing condition. To listen to Jane talk about what motherhood requires when unexpected and sometimes life-threatening challenges arise is to learn what unconditional love really means, about emotional resilience and tenacity, and taking on the school system, and keeping up her own physical endurance so she take on the world in defense of a child who was hurting. Her love letter? To her daughter who has reached a beautifully independent adulthood.

The joy of a Cordes Christmas can be yours next year


Betsy Cordes about to share her family Christmas magic with the world

Betsy Cordes about to share her family Christmas magic with the world Photo by Sarah Deragon/Portraits to the People

Betsy Cordes was raised by parents who, in her words, “really believe in the magic of Christmas and made it such a special time in our home. They still do!” There were carols on the stereo from dawn to bedtime, fresh greenery, lights and candles everywhere. Her dad’s crazy Christmas toys, and stockings but not being allowed to come see the tree until parents had “confirmed” that Santa had been there. And, the glee of adults acting like children. Oh, yes, one more essential ingredient, Mr. Dog.

Mr Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn, written by Albert Bigelow Paine in the late 1800s, is read by her father every Christmas Eve as it has been for two generations now. Betsy is in the process of insuring that it will be passed down forever and to everyone. She is going to republish this book  with new illustrations by San Francisco artist Adam McCauley. Listen to a very joyful Betsy read part of the story and talk about the sustainable magic created by her parents with the help Mr. Dog. Next Christmas you will be able to read this to your children and start a whole new family memory. Her love letter? Hopefully two of them and maybe incorporating one into the new book?

Lina Misitzis with an unusual love letter plan

Lina Misitzis with an unusual love letter planLina Misitzis, born and raised in Virginia to Greek parents, brings together the strength of two disparate traditions. Greek was her first language and culture, yet Grammar school field trips were to Civil War battlefields and grand plantations, excursions based in troubled history. Listen to her talk about her life at home, the chunks of life she spent in Greece, the differences between her and her American born friends, her leaving home to forge her own way in life, her zig-zag journey across the country and the endearing adventurous reason she is in San Francisco. Lina is brimming with historical knowledge and personal creative experience, so the telling of her life is a fascinating and charming tutorial. She is a joyful young woman with the power to appreciate. She is also a gifted writer with a wonderful plan for a love letter. In her words, “I could write a thousand love letters to Brooklyn.”

Marshall takes on the North Idaho Aryan Nation

Marshall Mend in one of his life's serious turns

Marshall Mend in one of his life’s serious turns

Marshall Mend has come a long and heroic way in his life. A high school dropout who became a success in the meat and seafood business, who followed the advice of some of the great motivational speakers to even greater success, who moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho so he could live someplace friendlier than Los Angeles, he has risen to the stature of the lionhearted. To hear him tell how he discovered the threat of North Idaho’s Aryan Nation and his part in their eventual defeat  is an incomparable lesson in what one person can do. To hear what he did is a lesson in diligence. And, to hear him tell it in his own voice, well, if it is Marshall telling the story, even the most perilous challenge has its  ”how can you laugh at a time like this” moments, which makes anything he says easy to hear.

The Marshall Mend Show, yes he is back

Marshall with his son Paul

Marshall with his son Paul

Once again, Marshall Mend is back, this time to talk about this making a home in Coeur d”Alene Idaho, how he got into real estate, how he got what he calls his double doctorate in motivational psychology and his triple doctorate in sales. Yes, the fellow who dropped out of high school. He needed that diploma to get his real estate license and…  Oh, just listen to him tell it. Too good!  His story is an education in what you can do if you put your mind to it, if you never take no for an answer, love to do the impossible and have the charm and cheek to put yourself front and center.