“Remembering My Dad,” June 6, 2017

My dad left this world long ago, too soon, but my memories of him shine clear and bright and true. I think of him often, especially on Father’s Day.

I picture him fishing. Smokin’ and jokin.’ Telling stories. Making me laugh. In all those memories, his laugh is the same old chuckle. His eyes are still as blue as the lakes he loved to fish. And the thought of him still lights me up like the little girl who lay awake at night listening for him to come home from second shift at the mill. [Read more…]

“Get-Togethers Keep Us Together When We’re Apart,” May 30, 2017

When our kids are coming to visit us, my husband and I are like two aging chihuahuas _ not quite as quick on our paws as we once were, but still bug-eyed and quivery with excitement.

On his way out the door to pick up last minute supplies, my husband asked, “Should I get a quart or a half-gallon of milk?”

“Are you kidding?” I said. “Get a gallon. And make sure it’s whole fat and organic.”

Meanwhile, I was hip-deep in making potato salad. It’s one of the few things I can do without burning it to a crisp. The house was clean. The fridge was full, except for the potato salad and the milk Papa Mark would bring back. [Read more…]

“An Impossible Kind of Love,” May 23, 2017

On the eve of our 12th anniversary, my husband and I attended a wedding for a couple who, like us, were people of a certain age getting a second chance at “happily ever after.”

Their ceremony included a reading of I Corinthians 13, “The Love Chapter,” a Bible passage my husband and I also chose for our wedding 12 years ago:

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things….So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Those words speak clearly of an impossible kind of love made possible by the grace of God. [Read more…]

“The Language of Birds,” May 16, 2017

Most of us have a few good bird stories. I’d love to hear yours. Here are some of mine.

When I was 7, I broke my new front tooth. A dentist replaced it with a metal crown until we could afford a better one. I wore it for six years. My dad called it the “silver bullet.” It was fine for eating, but not for smiling.

“What’s wrong with your mouth?” said my dad.

“I hate this silver tooth,” I said. “It makes me … ugly.”

He took my face in his callused hands. “Not to me,” he said. [Read more…]

“Part-Time Grandmas Love Full Time,” May 9, 2017

Last week I flew to Monterey, Calif. (my home for decades before I moved to Las Vegas) to attend a funeral for a woman I knew mostly through her son.

I met Gary a lifetime ago. I was a rookie Young Life leader and he was a tall, skinny high school kid with a big grin and an Afro the size of Texas. Little did we know we’d be friends long after his ‘fro had gone gray. [Read more…]

“Happy Mother’s Day to my Children,” May 2, 2017

When my children were small, I always told them I didn’t need gifts for Mother’s Day. All I needed was them and their love.

It may be the only thing I ever said that they actually heard.  They aren’t so small any more. Neither am I. But they never forget me on Mother’s Day. Or my birthday. Or any other day, really. It’s astonishing to see such thoughtfulness and responsibility in people who, not so long ago, liked to stick peas up their noses.

This year for Mother’s Day, I decided I wanted to celebrate (with apologies to that old song, “M-O-T-H-E-R”) my children: [Read more…]

“Sisters by Choice,” April 25, 2017

There she was, my best friend in the great state of Nevada, the kindred soul that I call my “oasis in the desert,” beaming up at me from a photo she posted on Facebook with two women she’s known even longer than she’s known me.

Linda might not say she likes them better than she likes me. But I can’t blame her if she does.

They’re her sisters. Blood kin. They’ve known each other forever. They grew up together. Skinned their knees on the same rocks. Dried their backsides on the same towels. Buried their faces in the same pillows. And fought, laughed and loved each other in everything and nothing. They know each other’s stories and played major roles in most of them. And three years ago, when they lost the mother they adored, they held each other close, dried each other’s tears and promised to get together again soon.

It’s hard to forge a stronger bond than that. [Read more…]

“Speaking of Love,” April 18, 2017

Sometimes things come along in life in ways that seem entirely unconnected. Then suddenly, you see them in a new light that makes you think maybe they are all part of the same lesson? That happens to me sometimes. Maybe it happens to you, too?

Recently, a reader in Kansas wrote to say: “Dear Sharon: During the Lenten season, I like to write notes to family and friends, and though I only know you through your columns, I feel like you are a friend. For several years, I tried ‘giving up’ chocolate, sweets, etc. (for Lent) but never felt it brought me any closer to the Lord. So I changed to sending a note each day of the 40 days of Lent, mostly telling folks how they have added to my life and therefore to my Lenten walk with the Lord …. I am 80 years old and appreciate your work. God bless you and your family.”

We all should get a note like that once in a while. It made me grin like a mule eating briars. [Read more…]

“Joe’s Big Day,” April 11, 2017

Three days before his birthday my brother phoned me.

“I’m not calling to remind you of my big day,” he said. “I’m just calling to, uh, check in.”

“No,” I said. “You called to remind me of something. And I’m glad you did because I have no clue what it might be.”

He belly-laughed about that. He loves it when I tease him.

“Sister,” he said, “you always remember my birthday. I’m not one bit worried you’ll forget.”

That was a polite lie, the kind Southerners (and others who were “raised right”) employ to avoid being rude. Lying is bad, but rude is flat-out tacky. [Read more…]

“The Big Picture,” April 4, 2017

Once in a great while, time rolls together like waves on the shore, letting us see all at once the past, present and forever _ life as one great journey.

Recently I took a walk with my youngest. It was a short walk, but a good one. We try to keep in touch, he and I, with phone calls and texts, but this was the first time we’d been in the same time zone in almost six months, and I was hungry to spend time with him, just the two of us. [Read more…]