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Pieces of Heaven

Flipping through the Turkish Airlines magazine on our flight home from Istanbul last summer, I came across this quote by turn-of-the-century French writer, Jules Renard, emblazoned across a full page photograph of a luxury villa development on Turkey’s Aegean Coast:

“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.”

While I wouldn’t have expected a real estate ad in an inflight magazine to provide so much inspiration, this quote has become a mantra for both my life and my writing; a reminder that no matter how ugly the world may seem some days, it nevertheless contains incredible beauty and goodness.

Seaside villas in far-flung places and raindrops on roses in my own backyard; exquisite mosaics in an Istanbul mosque and the sound of the waves at Ocean Beach; the kindnesses of strangers and the bedtime kisses of my daughters: from the foreign to the familiar, I view all of these things as pieces of heaven in an imperfect world.

There are pieces of heaven all around us, wherever we travel and wherever we call home. To find them, we need to slow down, open up our eyes, minds and hearts and engage as fully as we can. Life is short and there is no certainty that heaven follows, so let’s seek out and celebrate all the pieces of it that exist here on earth. And the more we do this, the more joyful and fulfilling our lives will be.

Fear and Regret at Alamere Falls

Alamere Falls, located on the southern end of Point Reyes National Seashore, spills over the edge of a thirty-foot cliff and into the Pacific Ocean below. A “coastal waterfall” or “tidefall,” it is a fairly uncommon natural phenomenon, with only twenty-five of its kind sprinkled around the globe. San Francisco, where I live, is just

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Wining & Dining Among the Vines

It’s a cool evening in mid-August, and I’m in the Russian River Valley vineyards of Sonoma-Cutrer, chatting with the winery’s head winemaker, Mick Schroeter, about his recent trip to Talon Fish Lodge, in Sitka, Alaska. While there to host a wine and food pairing event featuring Sonoma-Cutrer wines, Mick had the chance to go fishing,

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Charmed Life on Lake Minnetonka

We’d been in Minnesota for only five hours, and already I was fantasizing about moving there. But not just anywhere in Minnesota, to Minnetonka Beach, an idyllic enclave along the shores of Lake Minnetonka, where we were staying for the weekend with our friends, Ann and Harris. Developed at the turn of the century as

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