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THE PEN NEWSLETTER

Have you heard of The Parlay Effect?

After starting Parlay House, our Founder Anne Devereux-Mills noticed something powerful happening across the community. When one woman found herself in a position to help another through kindness, empathy, generosity or encouragement, the woman who received the help replicated it, passing it on to another. And so on, and so on. She calls this cascade “the Parlay Effect” and continues cascading connection with her monthly Parlay Effect Newsletter (PEN). Read more for a lift and share to start a cascade of your own.

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WAIT, WEIGHT, DON’T TELL ME

February 2024   In January, Parlay House events around the country were all about burning the trauma we wanted to get rid of from 2023 and writing love letters to…
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THE YOLK’S ON ME

January 2024   For the last 18 months, I’ve been raising chickens. Keeping in theme with our dog, Mick Jagger, and our two feral barn cats, Jackson Browne and James…
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IS WHAT YOU SEE, WHAT YOU GET?

December 2023   I love being bi-coastal. The intensity of New York City is the perfect place to live a fast-paced, culture-rich life, and the earthiness of Northern California gives…
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JELLYFISH PERSPECTIVE

November 2023   A lot of what you know about my life comes from these monthly letters, social media posts, our circle of connection, or what you might remember from…
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THE POWER OF “ER”

October 2023   If you read my message last month, you may remember that I was celebrating three women who had crossed my path. Each had achieved celebrated success but…
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How Much Can You BARE?

September 2023   I’m not sure whether you’ve heard, but we’ve got a great podcast called Bring a Friend, which will soon release its seventh season. We created it to…
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WHAT DID YOU SAY?

August 2023   When you were a kid, did you ever play the telephone game? Everyone would sit in a circle, and the “caller” would whisper a word or phrase…
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SO FAR BUT YET SO CLOSE

July 2023   Eight years ago, a young woman from Cambodia came into my life through a program that brings female high school graduates from post-genocide countries to the US…
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I CAN’T GET NO…

June 2023   My mom recently told me that when I was five years old and constantly on the move, she and my dad took me to the doctor to…
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IS YOUR POSSE PASSÉ?

May 2023   Last year for my 60th birthday, my husband proposed a celebratory trip for me and six girlfriends in the Caribbean. My only responsibilities were to pack my…
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WELCOME TO THE SPECTRUM

April 2023   I don't need glasses to see things at a distance, but I need a 2.5x magnification to read just about anything. I can identify a whale's spout…
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TLDL: My Friend Making News

Too Long Didn’t Listen is for all of you movers and shakers, who either don’t have time to dive into full episodes, or simply prefer to skim the highlights. We…
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POWER OF THE PAUSE

March 2023   I spent my career in advertising but never would have imagined that I’d find myself in front of the camera. No, not a TV camera or a…
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THE UNDOING PROCESS

Feb 2023   Last week I decided to knit a sweater, choosing an organic cream-colored hand-spun super chunky wool which knit up with great texture. But as I worked my…
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THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW

Jan 2023   Picture it. The sun is hovering over the horizon, lighting up the sky with color as it slowly sinks below the plane of the earth’s surface. For…
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BURNING AND LOVING

Dec 2022   As 2022 roars to a close, I find myself relieved to be moving past the stresses of this year. Despite the lessening of Covid and the beginning…
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DO YOU SPEAK FISH?

Nov 2022   Me: 60-Year-old Woman. Lover of human connection, fashion designer, pilates aficionado, TV Bake-Off viewer, and advocate for all things feminist. Him: 20-Something Man. Lover of monster trucks,…
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WHO DO YOU BOO?

Oct 2022   Halloween haunting season is swiftly approaching, and it’s giving me pause. But not because I’m afraid of ghosts. While October 31 has historically been a day I…
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IN THE HOT SEAT

Sept 2022   My husband and I went to dinner at Ci Siamo in NYC the other night. It’s one of our favorite places. The reservation was at 9:30 (which…
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DON’T DITCH ME

Aug 2022   I woke up this morning in a ditch. Not an actual ditch, thank goodness. My life isn’t Peaky Blinders. But I was in an emotional ditch created…
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WILL THIS BE THE MOMENT?

July 2022   As I write this month’s missive, our family beach vacation in Greece is coming to an end. We’ve traveled here every year, adding new family members to…
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WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

June 2022   Who lives next door? When I was about seven years old and learning to ride my “big girl bike,” I forgot how to use the brakes. Looking…
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WHAT’S YOUR MAGNUM OPUS?

May 2022   When I was 17 years old, a senior at Lakeside High School in Seattle, I took a philosophy course taught by an epic professor, Jim Wichterman. We…
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WHAT GIVES?

April 2022   Let me set the scene Two middle-aged people are set up on a blind date. She’s a busy advertising executive and he’s a businessman in town for…
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HAVE SPRING IN YOUR STEP?

March 2022   I think of myself as being born in the spring, because I remember birthdays in Seattle when the crocuses pushed themselves out of the earth, the cherry…
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CONTENT WITH YOUR CONTENT?

February 2022 Where do you get your information and stimulation these days? Who do you talk to, what do you read, where do you scroll, when do you listen and…
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THE HUG ECONOMY

January 2022 Let’s play a game. What do these four things have in common? A 200-page hardbound coffee table book about a clothing company, gift wrapped and delivered overnight by…
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WHO DO YOU TRUST?

December 2021 Close your eyes for a minute. Imagine yourself in the center of a stadium filled with screaming sports fans who are there to watch you try to set…
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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

November 2021 Less than two months ago, my daughter Lauren and her husband Patrick welcomed Etta into the world. Of course I think she is the most perfect baby ever,…
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ARE YOU POPPIN’?

October 2021 I’ve been making crazy art projects lately, collecting found objects from the seashore and winding, gluing, hammering them together to create forms and creatures. Most of the found…
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WHICH CARDS ARE YOU SHUFFLING?

September 2021 Over the past 18 months, a number of my friends have come to realize that jobs, social circles, activities, residences and other life-defining variables hold far more wiggle…
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HOW YA DOIN’?

August 2021   How many times did someone ask you how you are today? You probably responded with something like, “Fine, thanks,” “I’m good,” or “OK, and you?” But were…
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I LOVE YOU

July 2021   Saying these words often feels big and scary - uttering them implies so much. Affection. Commitment. Acceptance. Vulnerability. Occasionally, an “I love you” comes pouring out without…
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BREAKDOWN OR BREAKDANCE?

June 2021   In January, I wrote about the aspiration of a cyst on my spine which relieved my back pain and lifted a huge weight off of me. I…
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SEEING RAINBOWS

April 2021   A bit over a month ago, my husband David had surgery to remove a cataract from his right eye. After the procedure, he came home and said…
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STRONG WOMAN TO STRONG WOMAN

March 2021   I’ve had many “mom talks” over the years, exchanging ideas with friends and family and trying to figure out how to do it well. Recently, in preparation…
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THE SCENT OF A COOKIE

February 2021 The other day, I took a bite of a homemade chocolate cookie with powdered sugar sprinkled on top. It was no ordinary cookie. In one bite I tasted…
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BOILING OR LEAPING?

February 2021 Have you heard about throwing a frog into boiling water? The story goes that the frog will immediately jump out of a boiling pot, but if you put…
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LIAR, LIAR. PANTS ON FIRE

January 2021 My sisters and I often talk about our childhood and how certain experiences shaped us to be who we are. But when I recall the moments that were…
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REMEMBERING TO EXHALE

December 2020 I have a Sunday morning ritual of taking a virtual stretch class. It’s not my most physically taxing workout, but when I take time to stretch the muscles…
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LAUGHING OR CRYING OUT LOUD

November 2020 I've been avoiding the things that scare me.  Living on Kauai for the majority of the coronavirus epidemic, I’ve been in an isolated safe place with barely a…
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INSPIRATION VS ICON

October 2020 I’m going to say something that might rustle your feathers.  We’ve got to be careful about the pedestal we’re placing under Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  I know that sounds…
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TEARING OFF MY REAR VIEW MIRROR

September 2020 Hindsight is 2020. What does that mean to you?  I never thought I’d be saying it means, “I’m sick and tired of 2020 and want it to just…
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DIRTY DISHES

August 2020   Oh. My. God. Will you stop leaving your dirty dishes in the sink when the dishwasher is right there? Or if the dishwasher is clean, how about…
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LEAPING

July 2020   I have more on my mind than ever before. Fewer places to go means more time to think. And more time to feel. I have so many…
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THE ONUS IS ON US

June 2020   April 4, 1968.  I was a six-year-old white girl, living in a predominantly black neighborhood in Seattle when Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot. My parents,…
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A NEW KIND OF GUILT TRIP

May 2020 How ya feelin’?  I’ve been asking that question a lot.  My highly unscientific personal research indicates that half of the people I’ve talked to over the past couple of weeks…
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ANTIDOTES AND ANECDOTES

April 2020   During my adult life, I’ve lived through three major moments of global trepidation and uncertainty: the September 11 attacks, the economic crash of 2009/2010 and the current…
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GETTING JUICY

March 2020   I’ve had a number of responses to this newsletter from people who feel that human interactions aren’t always as positive and supportive as I report. A couple…
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THE POSITIVITY HACK

February 2020 This month’s thoughts are dedicated to Katie. I don’t know her last name.  Katie works at the front desk of a hotel where I was planning to stay…
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WHO IS WATCHING YOU?

January 2020 For many of us, that question can summon up a range of feelings, from self-consciousness and embarrassment to insecurity and even paranoia. What are others seeing? Do I…
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THE GIFT OF ATTENTION

December 2019 Last month, my godmother Rachael responded to my One Small Thing email with the insight that she appreciated receiving my notes because they were like paper children: conceived,…
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WHO ARE YOU?

November 2019 I Know What You Do, But Who Are You? When you walk into a room full of strangers, how do you introduce yourself? For many years, my lead…
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THE PLACES THAT SCARE US

October 2019 It’s the season of vampires, ghosts, and coffins planted in front yards. It’s the season to be “scared” in a fun way. But beyond the fantasy and the…
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THE POWER OF PAUSE

September 2019 For many of us, September is a time of transition. We come back from summer vacation or summer “slow downs” in anticipation of hitting the ground running. It…
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WHAT BOOK TELLS YOUR STORY?

August 2019   That's the question I ask the Parlay House community every summer. Parlay House is an organization I founded where women meet to connect authentically and talk about…
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PANDEMONIUM DAY

July 2019   ALL HELL IS BREAKING LOOSE! If I was to tell you it’s National Pandemonium Day, what would your reaction be? Is it a good thing -- like…
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GLOBAL GARBAGE DAY

June 2019   You may not know it, but today is Global Garbage Man Day. Maybe we should call it “Global Garbage Collection Day” instead? It’s a thankless and necessary…
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MOTHER’S DAY

May 2019   For many people, myself included, the reminder of our own abilities is enough to get us to take a step in a new direction. When I know…
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APRIL FOOLS’ DAY

April 2019 I want you to be the first to know… I’m 57 years old and pregnant! April Fools (a day early), of course. This holiday always reminds me of…
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INT. WOMEN’S DAY

March 2019   When was the last time you felt really seen? Maybe a colleague complimented your work, a stranger smiled at you, or a friend listened (and really paid…
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BE MY VALENTINE?

February 2019 Will you be my Valentine? *** When I was young, all the kids in my class would craft little Valentine’s notes. Sometimes I’d make a special one for the…
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IN TRANSITION

January 2019 As we shift 2019 into high gear, many of us are in a place of transition. Moving in or out of the workforce. Beginning or ending a relationship. Starting…
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HOLIDAY SEASON

December 2018 While tis the season to feel festive, tis the season for exhaustion too. There’s something about the end of the year that is simultaneously exhilarating and depleting --…
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THANKSGIVING

November 2018 What does it mean to invite someone to your table? *** Tomorrow, most Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a non-denominational holiday intended to be inclusive. And for many of us, it…
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HALLOWEEN

October 2018 Happy Halloween!  Today is a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge not only the costumes worn on this eve (personal favorite: Amelia Earhart), but also the masks we wear in…
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WOMEN IN BUSINESS

September 2018 As today is Business Women’s Day, you may be flooded with articles and quotes on the importance of women in business and statistics on the gaps that need…
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SUCCESS

August 2018   It’s that time of the year: transitioning from Summer into Fall. Kids going back to school, the frenetic energy of the end of the year...you know the…
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MENTAL WELLNESS

July 2018   Your responses to these “One Small Thing” notes have been deeply moving. People have written to me (as well as to important people in their lives) about how…
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INT. GIVING DAY

June 2018   Last month I launched a series of notes I call One Small Thing, an effort to recognize and track the impact that small actions can have on…
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ONE SMALL THING

May 2018   As it's Mother's Day, I thought it would be the perfect time to launch a series of notes to give back to those who nurture us, our…
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