One More Time

I had numerous feelings of déjà vu recently when my husband and I flew to Phoenix. From there we rented a car and drove to California to visit our daughter, then back to Phoenix to visit some friends there that we haven’t seen in a long, long time. The déjà vu kept popping up because this was the same itinerary we had last November, when we had to cancel our plans after learning that a tree fell on our house and punched a hole in [...]

By |June 22nd, 2024|Columns, Family, Travel, Values|0 Comments

Travel Time

It’s been seven years since my husband and I moved to Georgia from Minnesota. The first summer we were here, both of our kids and their spouses came to visit over the 4th of July, and we all had a great time. In fact, our son said, “I know where we’ll be going every year for our summer vacation.” It didn’t turn out that way, however. By the next summer, our daughter-in-law was pregnant, and long-distance travel would have been uncomfortable at best. By the [...]

By |June 5th, 2024|Columns, Family, Holidays, Travel, Values|Comments Off on Travel Time

A Messy Situation

I met a friend for coffee and catch-up last week. At one point, she pulled out a pocket-sized notebook  to write herself a reminder for something she had to do later. “I just bought myself a fancy new notebook,” she told me, “but whenever I need to write myself a note, this is the one I always use.” She added that she doesn’t want to “mess up” her new notebook with notes and scribbles. She wants whatever she writes in it to be perfect. We [...]

By |May 21st, 2024|Columns, Family, Values, Writing|Comments Off on A Messy Situation

Easter Observations

Our church was crowded last Sunday, as it always is on Easter. Sitting in the pew in front of us was a young family. The two boys, about five and ten years old, were well-behaved and well-dressed, each in tan pants, a button-down shirt, and an adorable bow tie. This reminded me of a column I wrote more than 20 years ago, about another Easter Sunday. I think it’s still relevant today: As I waited for Mass to begin on Easter morning, I watched some [...]

By |April 8th, 2024|Columns, Faith, Family, Holidays, Respect, Values|Comments Off on Easter Observations

A Lesson from Cinderella

When I was a freshman in college, I went to Ft. Lauderdale over spring break with my roommate and a few other friends. One day, on a very crowded beach, a sour-looking older woman sitting near us asked us what school we were from. We told her, and she rolled her eyes. She was a teacher at another college, whose dates for spring break differed from ours, but overlapped by a few days. “I came here on vacation,” she told us, “to get away from [...]

By |March 25th, 2024|Columns, Family, Values|Comments Off on A Lesson from Cinderella

Be Nice!

A number of years ago—eight, to be exact—we were visiting our daughter and got into a discussion about the upcoming election. I told my daughter that she would make a good president, and suggested jokingly that she consider running. Then, just for fun, I went on to name different departments, agencies, or cabinet positions that members of our family would be suited for. I came up with one for my husband, our kids, and a few other family members—everyone but myself. That’s when I decided [...]

By |March 11th, 2024|Accountability, Columns, Family, Making a Difference, Respect, Values|Comments Off on Be Nice!

The Last Two Traditions

“The last two holiday traditions I’ll ever give up,” I told my son, “are cooking a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, and baking Christmas cookies.” I made the comment as my son and I were talking on the phone, a few days before Thanksgiving, about our holiday plans. I had mentioned that we knew a lot of people who, instead of cooking a traditional turkey dinner, had “alternate plans.” Some were still going with a turkey dinner, but were purchasing either a ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat-up option [...]

By |November 27th, 2023|Columns, Family, Holidays, Values|Comments Off on The Last Two Traditions


At least we weren’t home when it happened. Of course, that’s both the good news and the bad news. It’s bad news because we had to cancel most of the week-long trip we had planned. We were out of town, on our way to visit our daughter and celebrate her birthday with her, when we got the phone call telling us a tree had fallen on our house, tearing a hole in the roof. We did a U-turn on the interstate, returned our rental car, [...]

By |November 13th, 2023|Columns, Family, Travel, Values|Comments Off on Timberrr!


I just woke up from two unsettling dreams, the kind that made me think, after I popped awake, “Oh, thank God that was just a dream.” One of them was a variation of the standard “last day of school and l’m not ready for the big test” dream, although it was more complicated and intense than that. The other dream was a lot scarier. A Japanese Mafia-type man was forcing me to write propaganda, and threatening to kill my family if I didn’t cooperate. He [...]

By |October 30th, 2023|Columns, Family, Health and Well-being, Values|Comments Off on Nightmares

It all started when the Ferrari didn’t

I was at a Georgia Writers Museum event a few nights ago, but that’s not what this story is about. It’s not about the yellow Ferrari, either, although that’s what started it all. What it’s really about is the people – small-town families, big-city couples, people of different ages, stages, and stations in life. And it’s about, as Blanche DuBois famously stated in A Streetcar Named Desire, “the kindness of strangers.” The Writers Museum event had ended, and almost everyone had left, when a couple [...]

By |October 7th, 2023|Columns, Family, Values|Comments Off on It all started when the Ferrari didn’t