“The Final Stage of Maturity,” July 16, 2018

A nonscientific study of the adult years of maturation reveals three key stages:

1. Finding one’s identity.

2. Finding one’s purpose.

3. Finding one’s lost keys.

The first two stages can be challenging at best. The third (which also includes finding such things as eye glasses, cell phones, coffee cups, purses, TV remotes, and God forbid, the place where you last parked your car) can seem like a never ending nightmare. [Read more…]

“Lipstick Traces on a Lifetime,” July 9, 2018

When my mother left this world, she took the answers to questions I wish I could ask her.

I remember as a little girl watching her dab red lipstick on her mouth, and seeing the traces it left on her cigarettes.

She had thick, dark hair and high, wide cheekbones like her Cherokee great-grandmother. She didn’t need lipstick to be a beauty. But with it? Oh my.

Lipstick made her more beautiful than the azaleas that bloomed in the woods. Or the hummingbird that buzzed by my head. Or the rainbows the creek spit spilling over the waterfall. [Read more…]

“Finding Peace,” July 2, 2018

If you have traveled for long on this rocky road called life, you might’ve noticed that it is a beautiful and baffling blend of conflict and peace.

It’s not just one or the other. It’s both. To experience both conflict and peace, and embrace them as gracefully and honestly as we can, is what it means, I believe, to be truly alive.

Almost 30 years ago, I was a feature writer for a newspaper when my editor called me into his office and said he wanted me to start writing a column. [Read more…]

“Summer Memories,” June 25, 2018

What are your favorite summer memories? I have lots. One happened just yesterday. I’ll tell you about it. But first, here are some other favorites.

When I was 8, we lived in a house surrounded by pastures and orchards. I spent summer days roaming alone, crawling under barbed wire fences, eating peaches and dodging cows.

Then a dog showed up, a shepherd sent from Heaven. I fed him scraps and called him “Rin,” short for “Rin Tin Tin.” Wherever I went, Rin followed. And I wasn’t alone any more. [Read more…]

“Bone Love,” June 18, 2018

I had a dog once. His name was Tuffy. I didn’t name him. His name is one of a few things my children can’t blame me for. Tuff was a Sheltie, a miniature collie. He looked, I thought, like Lassie’s little cousin, only not as well groomed or smart.

He was a good dog, patient and longsuffering. He put up with a lot. He kept fit running figure-eights, carving a 3-inch deep race track in the yard. He loved meat, but didn’t get to eat it often. At our house there was never much left but bones. But Tuff wasn’t picky. He loved bones as much as meat.

I wish you could’ve seen him. [Read more…]

“Fathers I Have Loved,” June 11, 2018

The first man I ever loved was my father. I lost him long ago, but countless memories remain, even from when I was a baby. In one of those memories, he leans over my crib, patting my back, singing “Hush, Little Baby” to lull me to sleep. In another, he lifts me up, points to the sky and says, “Look! There’s the Man in the Moon!”

In every memory, I see his lake blue eyes smiling down upon me. Except for when I fell off a horse, or lost the bait on a hook, or had to tell him I couldn’t come live with him, because I had to watch over my mother. [Read more…]

“A House Is Not a Home,” June 5, 2018

Dear Reader:
I’m taking off this week from writing to move from Las Vegas to California. Thanks to all of you who’ve sent good wishes for the move. You are kind and we are grateful. The following column was written in 2007, soon after we moved to the desert. If I survive this move, I’ll hope to write again next week. Thank you so much for reading. _ Sharon

“A House Is Not a Home,” by Sharon Randall

A house, they say, is not really a home. It’s only a roof over your head. Home is the place where you keep your heart.

We moved into this place last week, my husband and I, with a crew of plumbers and painters and tile setters. It’s the fourth house we’ve shared (just us, not the crew) in the two years we’ve been married. We do not plan to move again soon. This house, Lord willing, will be our home. [Read more…]

“Keeping and Letting Go,” May 28, 2018

What do you want to keep and what do you want to let go? That’s high on my list of Life’s Hardest and Most Important Questions. I am forever trying to answer it. Especially lately.

Next week, total strangers will bring a truck to our door and haul off everything we own. Except the clothes on our backs, the car we will drive 500 miles to our new home, and as much stuff as we can pack in it.

It’s called moving. Some people, God bless them, do it often. For others, like me, it’s a rare and sobering adventure. In all my adult years (never mind how many) I’ve moved only three times. [Read more…]

“Losing a Longtime Friend,” May 21, 2018

One of the best things about a long life is having friends you’ve known and loved for years. But losing a longtime friend is one of life’s hardest blows to bear.

Joyce and I met more than 25 years ago on the patio at church. She was talking with a mutual friend, and when I heard her accent, I barged right in. [Read more…]

“Back to the Future,” May 15, 2018

Sometimes life turns full circle to remind us where we’ve been and show us where we’re going. It’s midnight. I’m standing in the kitchen of an empty old house ironing curtains.

Why? The curtains need it. But I need it, too. Ironing helps me think. I ought to iron every day, if only to de-wrinkle my mind. It’s been pretty wrinkled lately. Moving will do that to you.

After 12 years in the desert, my husband and I recently sold our home in Las Vegas, and plan to move in a few weeks back here, to the coast of California, where we each raised our children years ago, and now hope to watch our grandkids grow up. Last week I packed my car to the brim with boxes, warned my husband not to hurt himself in my absence (he’s on the mend from hip surgery) and drove 500 miles from Vegas to Pacific Grove, to a house that for most of my adult life I called home. [Read more…]