“A Christmas Story, Old and New,” column for Dec. 16, 2014

This is a Christmas story. I’ve told it before, but Christmas stories beg to be retold time and again, lest their truth be lost to anyone, especially the teller.

Besides, Christmas stories are woven with a thread of magic that makes each new telling a bit different from the past, both in how it’s told and how it’s heard.

This is my story. But I hope in some way, it will be yours, too. [Read more…]

“A Grownup Kind of Christmas,” column for Dec. 9, 2014

If you think Christmas is just for kids, you’ve probably never had the pleasure of knowing my friend Fred. Fred loves Christmas. So do I. Maybe you do, too. But Fred takes it to a different level.

[Read more…]

“Moment by Moment ….” column for Dec. 2, 2014

Life is made of moments. Some are better than others. But they all fit together in the end. On the last day of a two-week, whirlwind, 1,500-mile road trip in sunny California, it rained.

I love rain. I took it as a parting gift. And I hated to leave, so it matched my mood. [Read more…]

“On the Road to Making Memories,” column for Nov. 25, 2014

Somewhere on the road between our home in Las Vegas, and the coast of California, where we planned to spend Thanksgiving week with our family, we stopped to eat.

The restaurant was filled with old photos and antiques, not quite a Cracker Barrel, but close. Waiting to be seated, I saw something that made me smile. [Read more…]

“Looking for My Nearly Lost Mind,” column for Nov. 18, 2014

When you think of growing old, what’s your greatest fear? Do you worry about having enough income to live on?

I worry about that sometimes. But I think, hey, I’ve been poor before, there are worse things that could happen. I don’t know what those things are, but I’m sure there are lots of them. [Read more…]

“Say What You Need to Say,” column for Nov. 11, 2014

Why do we wait so long to tell someone what they mean to us? What makes us quick to criticize and slow to offer praise? Why are the most important words often the hardest to say?

People like to tell me stuff. Not just friends, but strangers, too. It’s not unusual to find myself leaning on the sink in a public restroom listening to someone I just met as she walked out of a stall, pour out her heart. I’m not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse. [Read more…]

“What Do You Do When You Get Lonely?” column for Nov. 4, 2014

What do you do when you get lonely? Is there some secret magic trick to make it go away?

October is history, and if you’re like me, you might be trying to remember which end of a turkey to stuff. But before moving on to other holidays, I want to talk about what I did on Halloween.

What did you do? I hope it was fun. Me? Take a wild guess. Did I (a) host a party for neighbors and friends; (b) dress up like Dolly Parton and try to sell autographs; or (c) make cookies for trick or treaters and eat the whole batch myself? [Read more…]

“Watch Words for Being a Mother,” column for Oct. 28, 2014

It wasn’t the first word I ever spoke. (My mother swore that was “go.”) But the first word I learned to heed was “watch.”
“Watch what you’re doing.”
“Watch where you’re going.”
“Watch your manners.”
“Watch your mouth.”
“Watch your brothers.”
“Watch this, y’all.” [Read more…]

“A Halloween to Remember,” column for Oct. 22, 2014

What’s your happiest Halloween memory? I hope it’s a lot better than mine. When I was 10, I grew weary of hearing schoolmates brag about their Halloween plans. So I informed my mother, for the first time ever, I planned to trick or treat in our neighborhood.

We lived outside of town. Our nearest neighbors weren’t near. She rolled her eyes. “Fine,” she said, “take your brothers.” [Read more…]

“Things I Wish I’d Known and Still Hope to Learn,” column for Oct. 14, 2014

My daughter has a birthday coming soon. As birthdays go, it’s a pretty big one. At least, it was for me when I was her age a lifetime ago.

We will celebrate the day with joy and thanksgiving and a little party and a lot of cake, as if it were the only birthday in the history of the world.

Lucky for me, I won’t have to do much. She’s been planning her own birthday parties since she was 3. Basically, all I’ve ever had to do was light the candles and clean up the mess. Now she has a 3 year old who plans his own parties, too. [Read more…]