“Showing Up,” March 27, 2018

You know that old saying, “You are what you eat”? Maybe we’re also what we watch.

I grew up watching “I Love Lucy.” I loved Lucy, but could not fathom how any grown woman could make so many harebrained decisions. Then I grew up. And some days, just like Lucy, I’ve got a lot of ‘splainin’ to do. [Read more…]

“The Magic Touch,” March 20, 2018

There is magic in the touch of a hand that loves you. It brings comfort and healing and a silent promise that says, “I am here and you are not alone.”

Sometimes when we’re driving or watching a movie or having dinner somewhere, my husband will reach over for no apparent reason and take my hand in his. I like that about him a lot. It always makes me smile, even at times, through tears.  [Read more…]

“Untangling a Family Tale,” March 13, 2018

I come from a family of hair brushers. Maybe you do, too.

My mother and her eight sisters grew up brushing each other’s hair. Often, it was a chore. Their mother would order the older girls to get the younger ones ready for church or school. They’d grumble, but obey, yanking tangles from the heads of their yelping little sisters like a mule dragging a plow across a rocky field. [Read more…]

“Starting Over,” March 6, 2018

How many times in your life have you started over?

You might say we start over every day, and you’d be right in a sense. But I don’t really notice it day by day. It takes something big to shake me up and make me ask: Who will I be now, and how will I live my life? [Read more…]

“A Big Birthday Surprise,” Feb. 27, 2018

Have you ever been given a gift that was exactly what you wanted, even if you didn’t know you wanted it? Are you forever looking for the perfect gift for someone who has “everything”?

If you’d asked me a week ago what I wanted for my “big” birthday, I’d have said, “No gifts, please, and no surprises.” [Read more…]

“Happy Big Birthday to Me … and You!” Feb. 19, 2018

I’m writing this on the eve of a pretty big birthday. Never mind how big. It’s my biggest so far. To celebrate, I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned, decade by decade. Here goes:

In my first 10 years, I learned to walk, talk, feed myself, read, write, do arithmetic, mind my manners (if not my business) and try to do as I was told. I learned to love sunsets and biscuits and the company of a good dog; how to run like the wind, laugh in my belly and keep my chin up, rain or shine. I learned that the world isn’t always safe or fair, but it is new every day; that there are things you can trust and things you can’t, and you need to trust yourself to know the difference. [Read more…]

“An Old Love that Lasts,” Feb. 12, 2018

This is a love story. Even if you read it after Valentine’s Day. It’s never too late for love.

Did you grow up wanting to be loved? Most of us do. But some of us want it more than others.

I was one of the wanters. Early on, I learned to watch faces to see what they thought of me. Did they light up when they saw me, or look away? Did the corners of their mouths turn up or down? Did they seem happy to be with me or bored? [Read more…]

“Playing to Win,” Feb. 6, 2018

For the past hour, my husband has been sitting in our spare room, squinting at a big screen TV and speaking urgently into a headset, as if his life, and maybe mine, depended on it.
Picture Tom Hanks in “Apollo 13” reporting to mission control, “Houston, we have a problem.”

[Read more…]

“Speaking of Love,” Jan. 29, 2018

Here’s a little mystery I can’t figure out: Why are we quick to say things we’ll wish we could take back, and slow to say what we’ll wish we had said sooner, before it was too late?

What if, instead, we were slow to speak in haste, and quick to speak in love? What difference might that make to our lives and our loved ones and our world? [Read more…]

“Stolen Hearts,” Jan. 22, 2018

Her name was Maria. She didn’t think she was pretty. But if you saw the light in her eyes, that flash of brilliance and wit and pain, you would know she was beautiful, inside and out.

I was 21, a college dropout, new to California, and recently married. My husband taught high school physics. My dream job was easier, or so I imagined: I wanted to have babies and watch them grow up.

No one had informed me that child-rearing is the least easy job God ever created. But even if I knew that, I’d have still wanted it. The things we do for love. [Read more…]