“Questions for a Nana,” Oct. 1, 2018

What do your children and grandchildren know about your childhood and what your life was like before they were born? If you don’t tell them, who will?

Recently I had a note from my 8-year-old grandson that lit me up brighter than the candles on my last cake. I’m hoping it will inspire you to share your history with someone you love. [Read more…]

“Comforting a Friend in Loss,” Sept. 24, 2018

(DEAR READERS: I’m taking off this week to recover from my son’s wedding. The following “often-requested” column is from 2006.)

What do you say to someone who’s just lost the love of their life? How do you offer hope when all they see is despair?

I often hear from readers who are grieving the loss of a loved one. They write to me about their loss, just as I’ve often written about mine in this column, in the years since I lost my first husband to cancer. To read their stories and share in their grief is an honor and a gift. I’ve received countless such letters over the years and have tried to answer as best I can. But some things don’t get easier with practice. [Read more…]

“A Labor of Love,” Sept. 17, 2018

Weddings are a lot of work, even for a mother of the groom. My soon-to-be daughter-in-law has done a great job of planning. Most of what’s left to do will be done by professionals, or by family or friends who want to help in any way they can.

My daughter will arrange the flowers. My youngest will assemble the arch. His wife will pick up guests at the airport. My husband will play guitar. And the little people (the groom’s niece and nephews, and the bride’s godchildren) will get all dressed up and steal the show. [Read more…]

Please note rescheduling!

Thanks so much to all of you who planned to attend the two events where I was to speak this week in Winston-Salem, N.C. Due to hurricane-relate weather, both events have been postponed. “An Evening on the Porch” (originally scheduled for Thurs., Sept. 13, 2018, 7 p.m.) in the sanctuary of Centenary Methodist Church has been rescheduled for Thurs., Sept. 27, 2018, at 7 p.m. (For tickets or info, contact www.centenary-ws.org or (336) 724-6311.) And the annual luncheon for Financial Pathways of the Piedmont (originally set for Fri., Sept. 14) will be postponed to a later date. (For info, contact Megan Thompson at (336) 896-1191; megan@financialpaths.org, or www.financialpaths.org/annual-luncheon.) I deeply regret any inconvenience and ask that you join me in sending our love and prayers outo everyone affected by this storm!

“A Resumé for a Life,” Sept. 10, 2018

How do you define who you are and what you do? Recently I told my 7-year-old grandson that I won’t get to see him next week because I’ll be away on business. Henry knows I often travel. But the “business” part pricked up his ears.

“Why, Nana? Can’t you write your column at your house?”

Henry is smart. He knows I write a newspaper column each week. I’ve read a few of them to him and he generally approves. He especially likes the ones about him and his cousins.

“I’m not writing on this trip,” I said. “I’m speaking. It’s part of my job. I go places to talk and people buy tickets to hear me.”

He looked at me the way he did the day I told him that once, while swimming in the ocean, I was circled by a shark. [Read more…]

“Stain Removal for the Soul,” Sept. 3, 2018

Have you ever taken something that seemed ruined and made it good as new? I was 7 years old, helping my grandmother do the wash on her old wringer washer. By “helping,” I mean I watched her work. She never let me near the wringer. It had mangled a few of her fingers, and she was not about to let it do that to me. [Read more…]

“Unwrapping a Package Called Aging,” Aug. 27, 2018

When I was too young to know better, I made myself a promise. I’ve made myself a lot of promises I didn’t keep and can’t recall. But I remember this one.

It was just before my 30th birthday. I was a stay-at-home mom with three small children. My 5 year old had just started kindergarten. My daughter, barely 3, was busy helping her teachers run her preschool. And my baby — for whom I’d gained 50 pounds in pregnancy and lost only 10 of it (his weight) giving birth — was a few months old. [Read more…]

“A Double Celebration,” Aug. 20, 2018

We celebrate some birthdays with a bounce house. Others we observe quietly in our heart. But every birthday of a loved one is a joyful occasion, especially when we celebrate two at once.

My oldest grandchild, who just turned 8, was born on my mother’s birthday. She died long before Randy lit up my life. The fact that they share a birthday is no surprise. I think my mother probably arranged it with God. She wanted what we all want: To be remembered. So she pulled a few strings and sent me a divine reminder.

I wish you could see him. [Read more…]

“Crazy Things We Do for Love,” Aug. 14, 2018

Have you ever done something that was so hare-brained crazy you feared, if anyone found out, you’d never hear the end of it? Readers often tell me stories I won’t repeat without permission though they know, when they tell me, what I do for a living.

Sharing a story with a columnist is like asking a monkey to hold your banana. The monkey might like you, but bananas are hard to resist.

I asked permission to tell you this story. Luckily, the woman who told it to me said yes. I won’t tell you her real name or where she’s from. It doesn’t matter. She could be any one of us. Let’s just call her “Pat.” [Read more…]

“Back to School,” Aug. 6, 2018

Do you remember your first day of school? Did you think your life was over, or that it had only just begun?

I recall my first day of second grade. We had recently moved and I started a new school. I walked into a classroom of kids, all clucking like chickens with a fox in their henhouse, waiting for a teacher to show up and shoot the fox. I took a seat, put my head down and got to work. Then a girl came over and sat on my desk, covering my paper. [Read more…]