Over 80 And Living Out Loud


After being in Covid restrictions from the beginning of 2019, I think we all are ready to step out of the box we’ve been in and begin to live large. I don’t know about you but I want 2022 to be the beginning of my emerging from my cocoon to living out loud.

How can we do that? Well, I’ve thought about it and here is what we can do together to get back to our core selves this year in a more robust life changing way! Living large.

1. Overcome your fear.

Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t know how to overcome fear? Easy fix. Do the thing you’re afraid of.

2. Honor your word.

Do what you say you’re going to do. Don’t give false promises. Value your integrity and keep them.

3. Be kind to a stranger.

Pay them a compliment. It might just make their day a bit brighter. You will feel better, too.

4. Take 100% responsibility for your life.

If things aren’t working out in your favor, take note and ask yourself what is your part in it. Then when you change, your world will follow suit.

5. Learn to say “No.”

It’s okay to say ‘no’ to things you really don’t want to do. You will only wind up with resentment.

6. Know your own value.

There is something awesome and valuable about what you have to offer this world. Each of us has unique gifts. Use them!

7. Permission to make mistakes.

No one is perfect. Learn from your mistakes and move on!

8. Own your own opinion.

You matter. Your opinion matters. Don’t be afraid to speak your truth. It is truly powerful. Own it!

9. Focus on your strengths.

We all have weaknesses, but we also have our strengths. What do you do well? Work on those.

10. Practice living in gratitude.

If you start your day with gratitude and create a habit of it, in short order, your life will change.

11. Be authentic.

Thoreau said, “If I am not I, who will be?” Embrace who you are. There is only one of you and appreciate your talents and embrace who you are.

12. Be of service to others.

Look outside of yourself and be of service to others. We are all in this together. You would be surprised how you can make a difference.

13. Share the love.

Living out loud means loving out loud. Share the love and it will multiply. The more you love, the more love will come back to you.

14. Use co-creation to help you.

Embrace the Divine. Let your spiritual life morally guide you in life. You will never be alone.

15. March to the beat of your own drum.

Be true to who you are. Don’t follow the pack, but march and dance to the beat of your unique drum.

Maybe this is already a way of life for you.. But if not, try to think about living out loud. With practice, these steps just may change your life. Just start and see how if feels. Make the commitment and see where it goes.

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Clement Moore and I

Clement C. Moore was born in 1779 in New York City and became a distinguished literature and theology professor there. He was an august man who generally did august things, but became immortal doing a December thing.

On December 23, 1823, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas—or, as it was originally known, A Visit from St. Nicholas—was anonymously published in a Troy, New York, newspaper…and just never stopped being reprinted. By 1837, Moore’s authorship was widely known. He’d written the poem for his children. He hadn’t intended on changing Christmas as we know it.

I am quite certain most of us have had some connection with this famous Christmas poem. Every child knows the story of Santa and his reindeer. When Clement Moore wrote that story I am sure he was not aware that he would change the story of Christmas forever.

Of course, the oddity of the poem compared to Santa as we know him is that Moore made Santa and his reindeer tiny and elfin. I suppose that is so he could get down the chimney. But through the years, at least in my lifetime, we have made Santa bigger. Associating jolly with being a bit more rounded and content with Mrs. Santa’s culinary skills. We like our Christmas Santa to be bigger than life, so we added more jolly to our Santa.

What special six degrees of separation do I have with ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas and Clement Moore? Well, fifty years ago I was on a television set sitting in a Santa Sleigh, holding my five month old son on my lap with my young daughters beside me. We were surrounded by all of the young children of the television staff and crew and a full Christmas wonderland television scene.

I was honored to be asked to read Clement Moore’s’Twas The Night Before Christmas’ for the children there and for everyone watching from their homes. It truly was a moment when the magic of that Christmas poem came alive for me. Just seeing the wonderment on all the little children’s faces around me is a gift I’ll never forget. The tale of Christmas came more alive to me during that reading than ever before.

In the 1980’s I moved to New York to an area called Chelsea. In the 1800’s Chelsea was considered the back woods of New York with mansions and acres of land around them. Today Chelsea is a quaint area of townhouses and art galleries.

While walking my dog one day that first week I discovered a beautiful townhouse just a block away from mine with a plaque on it. Curious, I stopped the read it. What did it say? It said it was the home of Clement C Moore. This was the house where he wrote ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’.

The author was a major landowner in the neighborhood and lived with his family on a huge estate at 23rd Street and 9th Avenue, then considered the backwoods of the city. Moore sold it in 1835. Six years later, it was rebuilt as the Greek Revival townhouse that stands today,

Again, Clement C. Moore and I were destined to cross paths. We still have that home in Chelsea and I am walking past his home most days when I am there. As long as I have children and grandchildren and as long as I have the child within me, Clement Moore and I will have that six degrees of separation connection.

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”


Memories Of Charles Dickens

In 1947, the summer of my eighth year when we were still living at my grandpa’s house in Hopedale, Ohio, I would curl up every day in the big overstuffed chair next to the long window where the light was good and I would read Charles Dickens stories from books printed by P. F. Collins in New York in 1870.

Yesterday, while cleaning out an antique corner cupboard of mine, I discovered that set of books that I had read so long ago. I took them out one by one and flipped through the pages that brought back memories of my childhood and that long summer in Ohio. Flipping through the pages and thinking about how small the print was now for my aging eyes, I came upon a a pressed wrist corsage of roses, now the color of tea leaves, tied with pink ribbon. How could I have forgotten that it was there?

The books were initially owned by Ida F. Spangler who roomed at my grandmother Atkinson‘s house for a while. Her delicate hand written observations and notes are written in ink on the forward pages of some of the books. As was told to me, she was a descendant of Edmond ‘Ned’ Spangler who was involved in the Abraham Lincoln assassination. He was a stage hand at the theater and was asked to hold the horse on which John Wilkes Booth escaped. He was acquitted, but did spend prison time. He died in 1875. Five years after these books were printed.

The complete works of Charles Dickens. I read each of those books that now belonged to my father. I read Dickens stories with their beautiful etchings, each and every one, from cover to cover, during that summer. Those stories and all the characters within took me on adventures in my imagination that kept me from the loneliness of living on an isolated farm among the cornfields.

That fall when I returned to school I was asked to read a narration during a piano recital for a boy that I had a crush on. Douglas Tipton. He had rosy cheeks and dark hair and wore glasses. I thought he was the handsomest boy in our class. I was truly smitten and when he asked me to be a part of his piano recital it was the best day of my life so far.

Mother made me a pretty pink taffeta gown to wear and he gave me a wrist corsage of small pink roses. And there they were. Seventy-four years later discovered again by that little girl in the pink taffeta dress. I had totally forgotten all about them until I took out the books and I found that corsage tucked between the pages of one of my favorite stories.

Today I have decided instead of putting the books back into the dark interior of my corner cupboard. I’m going to give them new life again by sending them on to my son. I am not too sure in this digital age whether any of my grandchildren will curl up in a corner of their house where the light streams in for good reading and open any of the pages that entertained me so long ago. But at least they can breathe a new life in the bookcases long my son’s hallway. Hopefully. Patiently waiting there for one of my grandchildren to reach up and take it from the shelf.

And my corsage? I am leaving it there because it has lived happily between those pages for all these years. I’m letting it stay in it’s resting place. Maybe one day when my grandchildren, or any other curious reader reaches up and opens the book, they will see the corsage. Will they be curious and wonder why it’s there? Perhaps this small mysterious remembrance of their Nana, or someone they never knew will stimulate their imagination, too. Just like Charles Dickens did for me 74 years ago.


Copyright Sandra Hart 2020

Utopia and Todd Rundgren

Even though I did all of my theater work in New York I belong to the Chicago theater community and I am on their mailing list.

Just as all other businesses, the theater community has been affected greatly during this Covid situation. The reality being that unless you are a star it’s especially difficult for actors to be able to survive and earn a living in this climate. I have special empathy for those in the creative community who are trying to survive.

This week is Chicago ACTS Together Week and I logged on to watch the short promo video they made honoring Chicago theater – and underneath that on Youtube I just happened to scroll down and see Todd Rundgren’s progressive rock performance of Utopia in 2019 at the Chicago Theater.

Wow! I spent over two hours listening to this great music performance that took me back to 1974. It was a year within the time period when I was raising my children and anything suggesting Utopia was far from my reach.

Sometimes it is a good thing just to get off of our daily treadmill, turn off the dreadful news and chill with something that takes us to another time and place in our lives.

Thank you Todd for all the great music you have given us throughout the years.

PS. Little did I know then or even dream at that time my youngest would grow up and be a part of the rock community 20 years into the future.

Utiopa: Utopia

Copyright Sandra Hart 2020

Chicago Acts Together: ChicagoChicago Acts Together

Memories And Stuff

I often find the early morning hours when I wake up while my husband is still sleeping to be the best hours of the day. I enjoy quiet. I enjoy being with me and my inner thoughts.

Just sitting with my inner roommate, a cup of hot coffee and the stillness of the morning pleases me.

We downsized about four years ago and I had to get rid of a lot of things that had taken me 44 years to accumulate. It was freeing. It was just fine and I have never missed all that stuff. But right now as I’m sitting here looking around my living room, I see I once again have accumulated a lot of stuff. What is it about us? What is it about us that we are so attached to things?

I sometimes wish I could be a minimalist. Empty my closet. Live out of baskets. Enjoy wide open floor spaces that are free of ‘things’.

I once had a new neighbor in New Jersey who bought the house up the road. She completely redid the interior of the house in a minimalist style. At the time, to me, it seemed so cold. I wondered how anyone could live with such bare surroundings. Anyway, it rather depressed me to be in her house. It seemed empty of life.

Fast forward 20 years and I have downsized from a five bedroom home to a two bedroom triplex in Miami Beach, quite a change in lifestyle that I was ready for. In spite of everything that I got rid of somehow I cannot let go of things that have been in my life since my childhood.

The table that my great grandfather made for his wife. The copper candy kettle now filled with shells that my grandmother used to make candy apples for her 10 children. The matching candelabras inherited from my paternal grandmother. Eliminating these things from my life would be like erasing and throwing away my childhood memories.

So it looks as though I am destined to never have a minimalist home. A comfortable home to me is surrounding myself with memories that are attached to material things.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2020


Now, like most of you I have had a life full of swings. Emotional swings, financial swings, life event swings and mood swings. But nothing can ever warm my heart more than a swing hanging from a sturdy branch where I can let the cool breeze pull it’s fingers through my hair, kite my skirt and fill my heart with the memories and feelings of being a child again.

There is something about a swing I can’t resist. I am always reminded of my childhood and the poem by Robert Louis Stevenson when I think of swings.

How do you like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing

Ever a child can do!

So many of my memories in my childhood have involved swings. Going to a one room school house in rural Ohio when I was a young girl and having recess where I could swing. I would take that rusty old girl as high as I would dare to go. Holding my head back as far as I could without slipping off the seat I would watch the clouds move with me. Back and forth. Back and forth. Challenging the dizziness within my head.

The tire swing that my father put up for us when I was about eight years old. We lived near a big bubbling and winding creek where Daddy hung a big rough rope around the strongest tree limb he could find. My brother and I would swing out over the edge of the water, hanging on for dear life for fear of falling into the tumbling water below. It was exciting. It was fun. Just the feeling of the cool summer air whoosh by my body with each swing still remains in my mind.

Childhood will never leave. It’s still inside somewhere, but the years have passed and life has moved on without a swing for me. Until, that is, until my son put up a swing from a very strong limb for his daughter Lucienne. He hadn’t a clue that that swing would also be for me, his 81-year-old mother, who has never lost her love for a swing.

Every chance I get while jogging down my son’s winding driveway past the aging fir trees I can’t resist, no matter how urgent my task. I stop and take a ride and reawaken the child inside on the swing that hangs from the strongest branch that was made for Lucienne.

Copyright SandraHart 2020

Purposeful Gathering Community Learning With Sandra Hart

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Chances are you are struggling with, others are too; what is troubling you or what you want to talk about others do too; what life questions you’re asking most other women are asking themselves too. Let Sandra guide us to open ourselves and others will follow. What will ensue is a gathering we can all learn and bond from and no one will forget. Let Sandra’s course and workbook guide you to gaining self-esteem, gain friendship and understanding and let go of the negative thoughts that guide our feelings. This workbook and course are FREE and of significant value. The suggested $3 is if you want to buy Sandra a cup of coffee. There is no pressure Sandra wants this workbook to get into as many hands as needed her goal helping all women connect and heal together.

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With nearly 300 million cell phones in use in the United States, that puts the country third overall in the world when it comes to total mobile phones in use. Most of us, including this writer, have become extremely dependent upon cell phones. I don’t even know anyone’s telephone number anymore, because I don’t have to. I don’t have to use a thesaurus anymore, because I don’t have to. I rarely write letters anymore, because I don’t have to. I don’t carry around a camera anymore, because I don’t have to. I have a cell phone.

My cell phone is kind of like my personal robot. I give ‘her’ commands and she does it. Could the tech life get any sweeter!

Now, exactly what am I getting to? Well, there is a time and place for everything, everything in it’s place. If Benjamin Franklin could only see us now.

In my opinion, cell phones should be turned off and in silent mode when we are with other humans. Simple as that. Nothing makes smoke come out of my ears more than when I come into a room with friends or family who have their noses in their phones and the silence of interpersonal verbal communications is deafening. No wonder they say robots will take over. We cell phone users are becoming them.

Believe it or not, this preamble is leading to something quite positive. Last night my son had an informal dinner party with a group of his singer/ songwriter friends and their extended family members. Great food and great company amongst a group of very creative and world famous musicians.

The night was so interesting that this thought never occurred to me until the morning. It was four hours of eleven adults and five children actually having real connections. Real conversations. Imagine that!

Not one person pulled out their cell phone the whole evening. I didn’t even hear any go off. The children played together, giggling and playing tag and other games in and out of the house. Musicians shared stories and caught up on just being friends.

It was one of the best times I have had in a long time and no iPhone or Android was involved. I surely wish this would not be an anomaly today. I surely wish more of us would turn off our cell phones and look around us and enjoy the moment with real time life, friends and family.

If we all actively try to make this happen, it just might!


©️Sandra Hart 2019




Evelyne died when she was five. There in the August cornfield with open blue skies above, her life ended. She was on her back, trying to catch her breath. Each short gasp bringing in the pungent smells of fear, dirt and him. Evelyne struggled as he easily pinned her tiny body between the corn stocks with his teenage frame. She wanted her mother. She wanted him to get off. Her cries were silent and not heard. Not by anyone. Not even the crows casting shadows over them as they scavenged for food.

“Don’t tell your mother, or she’ll spank you hard,” he said zipping up his Levi’s. Evelyne could still hear the sound of the stalks swishing and crackling as he walked away pushing them aside. She lay there in her rumpled play dress, sobbing in fear until his steps faded away and only silence was heard. It ends there. That’s all she ever would remember of that summer’s day while playing hide-and-seek with her cousins on Grandpa’s farm, and life as any little girl should be allowed to have, well, for Evelyne, it disappeared when she was five. I am Evelyne.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2018©️

All Rights Reserved

( Excerpt from work in progress Blue Daffodils by Sandra Hart )




You can dance

You can jive

Having the time of your life

Ooh, see that girl

Watch that scene

Dig in the dancing queen

ABBA Dancing Queen

Whenever I used to think of Sweden, I immediately would think about ABBA, or the popular Swedish retailers IKEA and H& M. I never thought about fashion. Ever.

We all know Europe is famous for its fashion capitals, but until recently many have overlooked Stockholm. In the last few decades, it has emerged as one of the top places to go for a fashion fix, without ever looking like it was really trying. The effortless simplicity of style in Sweden’s capital would be interesting to any fashionista.

Stockholm Street Style from my closet

I began to wonder if I could go into my closet and reproduce outfits that one might see while walking the streets of Stockholm. Needless to say, the effortless street style that Stockholm is so famous for is not about one look in particular, nor is it about wearing certain labels or brands.

Just exactly what is Stockholm Street Style, anyway. Well, it’s about individuality, dressing in a way that brings out your own individual personality in clothes.

The use of the term ‘Scandi-chic’ has increased in recent years. I think it has come to represent a personal sense of style. An ‘ I am dressing for me. I am dressing for comfort’ style.

Just think of IKEA, H&M. Simple and something you can easily put together yourself. Easy and uncomplicated style. A natural sense of style.

Anne-Sofie Back is a trending Swedish designer that is popular both in Sweden as well as London. And, of course, Björn Borg,  is associated with being sporty, creative and innovative. 

Coco Chanel once said, “simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance”. I think, in Europe, Stockholm has gotten the message and is giving Paris interesting competition.

Sandra Hart • Life Over Sixty With Sandra