“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...]

“Life Is Messy,” column for Oct. 7, 2014

Today _ certainly not for the first time and probably not the last_ I was reminded of the epitaph I want engraved on my headstone: “Here lies Sharon. God bless her, she meant well.” [Read more...]

“Reading, Writing and Life,” column for Sept. 30, 2014

Recently I had the great, if somewhat terrifying, pleasure to stand before an assembly at Hope Elementary in Hope, Indiana, and speak to the students in grades 2-6 about “Reading, Writing and Life.”

It was a lot to cover in 30 minutes. I’ve been doing those things (reading, writing and being alive) for a pretty long time and can talk about them until the cows come home. But given the risk of cutting into recess, I tried to keep it short.

I started with “Life.” There are three keys in life, I said, that help to open all sorts of doors: [Read more...]

“Just Us,” column for Sept. 23, 2014

Life gives us moments for doing things. Being young, for example. We don’t get to do that forever. Except maybe at heart. There are moments for laughing, moments for grieving, moments for watching a child grow up.

Childhood may seem to last for years, but really, it passes in bits and pieces that come flaming out of nowhere like shooting stars and slip quietly out of sight. Either you see them, or you don’t. [Read more...]

“The Man in the Moon and Me,” column for Sept. 16, 2014

What will you do with your one sweet life? Do you ever ask yourself that question?

I do. I’ve been asking it for as long as I can remember. [Read more...]

“What to See and Do and Eat in a Place I Call Home,” column for Sept. 9, 2014

What do you say when someone asks about your home? How can words do justice to a place that’s in your heart? I often hear from readers who are planning a vacation and want my advice on what they should see and do and eat.

I’m no travel writer. But I often write about places I call “home.” And if you want to get to know a place, it helps to ask a local. Unfortunately, this local doesn’t always have time to reply. She’s too busy scrubbing toilets or looking for her phone. But here at least are a few tips on what to see and do and eat in the three places I call “home:” [Read more...]

“Picture Postcards from the Past,” column for Sept. 2, 2014

Three long years had passed since my sister’s last visit to our home in Las Vegas. Three years, I guess, is long enough to make even old things look new.

“Sissy,” she said last week, “where did you get that picture of daddy in the guest room?”

I had to stop and think. [Read more...]

“Pony Boys,” column for Aug. 26, 2014

I’ve got a bruise on my arm from an attack by a woolly mammoth. It came running out of nowhere and stabbed me with its tusks. There’s a scrape on my shin from an emergency rescue mission and a bump on my head from the collapse of a cave.

But I am not complaining. Being a nana is an adventure. It’s not for sissies or whiners. [Read more...]