“The Good, the Bad and the Painful,” column for Tues., July 19, 2016

Recently I wrote a column in which I addressed the question, “What’s this world coming to?”

Basically, I said, despite the horrors we hear about daily, the world remains a “mostly good” place. Bad things happen, but good things happen, too, far more good than bad. It’s a matter of perspective, how we choose to look at it.

As I finished that column, I could almost hear my mother say, ‘You forgot to add ‘Lord willing and knock on wood!’ ” [Read more…]

“A Mostly Good World,” column for July 12, 2016

What’s this world coming to?

My mother mumbled that while reading the paper. My grandmother whispered it at too-short skirts. My granddad spit it like tobacco juice at any kind of cruelty or injustice.

It wasn’t a question so much as a comment: The world, as they saw it, was going to a place where good people and their children did not want to go.

I kept waiting for the world to get to that place. Somehow it never did. It came close at times, more often than I can tell you. But in the darkest moments _ in heartache and fear and absolute despair _ the world remained for me a mostly good place.

Bad things happened for me and my loved ones just as they do for you and yours. But good things happened, too, in far greater measure than bad.

At least, that’s how I saw it. [Read more…]

“A Sister’s Forgiveness,” column for July 5, 2016

Nobody likes to say, “I’m sorry.” But most of us like to hear it on occasion.

This morning I called my sister to apologize for things I said last night. Never mind what. Just a few helpful hints for her health and well being. Simple suggestions like, try an ice pack on your knees. Take a warm bath before bed. Talk to your doctor about those nerve pills that Mama used to take.

My sister is a retired nurse, smarter than I’ll ever be. She doesn’t need me to tell her stuff she already knows. But I do it all the time. And I likely will again. [Read more…]

“What’s Your Story?”, column for June 28, 2016

How do you get people to tell you their stories?

Readers of my column often write to ask me that. It’s a great question.

My children might tell you it’s because I wear a sign on my back that reads: “Confess. Do it now before I beat it out of you.”

Don’t believe them. I’ve never worn a sign like that. If I did, they certainly never heeded it. [Read more…]

“A Dog Story,” column for June 21, 2016

Sometimes the best gift is something you never wanted.

When my oldest child was 12, he came home from school one day with a “proposal.” The boy was sharp, but “proposal” was a big word. It got my attention.

“What’s up?” I said. [Read more…]

“Snakes on Planes,” column for June 14, 2016

The announcement came as no surprise: The flight to Las Vegas was completely full and all roll-a-board bags for passengers in the last two boarding groups would need to be checked.

Milling about the gate like a herd of cattle at a salt lick, the crowd mooed its displeasure. Seems nobody wants to spend an hour in Vegas hanging out in baggage claim, least of all folks in town for a wild weekend. [Read more…]

“Looking for Signs of Life,” column for Tues., June 7, 2016

One of the happier surprises that came with moving to Las Vegas 10 years ago was finding a hairdresser I adore. I wrote a column about the move and a reader in Indiana emailed to say that if I needed a hairdresser (ha!) she would highly recommend a young woman who was not only great with hair (and worked in a salon near my home) but was also a fabulous human being.

“You can trust me,” the reader said, “I’m her mother!” [Read more…]

“How to Welcome a Baby,” column for May 31, 2016

How do you welcome a baby into the world? Do you send a card? A gift? A pizza? I’ve done all those things. Somehow it’s never enough.

Years ago, when I heard a friend had gone into premature labor and was being rushed into surgery for a cesarian delivery, I didn’t know what to do. I prayed, yes, but my fingers kept poking me to do something more. I hate it when they do that. [Read more…]

“Thank a Teacher,” column for May 24, 2016

It’s that time again. Another school year is ending. Students will say goodbye to a chapter of their lives. Teachers will breathe a sigh of relief. And parents will mourn the passage of another milestone, and pray for strength to survive until the kids go back to school.

My end-of-school tradition (like counting my blessings at Thanksgiving or stealing peeps from my kids’ baskets at Easter) is to say “thank you” to teachers _ to all teachers everywhere, but to some more than others. I start by making a mental list of my favorites _ mine and my children’s and grandchildren’s. [Read more…]

“A ‘False’ Start to Summer,” column for May 17, 2016

Summer is still weeks away, but it started early for me with three big surprises. We were just waking up when my husband looked outside and froze.

“Chicks!” he whispered.

It was our first quail hatch of the year. I wish you could’ve seen them. There were six, each about the size of my thumb, pecking at seeds fallen from the feeder, while their parents fussed and clucked and crowed.

Apparently, like their human counterparts, quail chicks are born to teach their parents that control is a flat-out illusion. [Read more…]